Those who contributed money to schools programme feel that insufficient support was provided to help it succeed

Sponsors of the government's city academies have accused ministers of exploiting their good will.

Wealthy businesspeople, often with little experience in education, put forward millions to transform comprehensive schools as part of the scheme. In exchange for their money, they were given control of running the academies. However, they claim that the government failed to give the schools sufficient support to help them succeed. One sponsor said he was “disillusioned”.

The news comes after a recent study by Pricewaterhouse Coopers for the Department for Children, Schools and Families revealed that some sponsors felt “marginalised”.

It said that the government would have difficulty in recruiting quality sponsors to meet their target of creating 400 academies.

Apart from businesspeople, sponsors included church groups. A spokesperson for the Church of England said there were “no plans to scale back their investment in academies”.

The first academies were opened by Tony Blair's government in 2002 as part of a drive to improve education in economically deprived areas.