A deprived London borough has turned down an offer from an American investment bank which wanted to build and run a state school.
Academies generally have modern new buildings
Goldman Sachs offered to invest £2m in a scheme for a city academy sixth form in Tower Hamlets.
The council rejected the offer, saying it had been improving standards without the help of academies.
The architect of the academies programme, Education Minister Lord Adonis, said he was very disappointed.
Academies have become known as privately-run state schools. Investors take control of a school in return for financial investment.
The government aims to establish at least 53 academies in England by 2007 and 200 by 2010, with ultimately twice that number.
In London it wants to see 30 by 2008 and 60 by 2010.
Schools Minister Andrew Adonis said: "I am deeply disappointed that Tower Hamlets have turned down excellent offers of sponsorship for academies, which is depriving young people of fantastic opportunities which otherwise would have been available to them."
A spokesperson for Tower Hamlets said the proposal from Goldman Sachs had been judged on its merits.
"Our priority is always to secure the best possible standards for our young people.
"This is not a place where the excuse of deprivation is allowed to stand in the way of high aspirations," he said.
"Since 1997 the percentage of young people achieving five or more good GCSEs has increased from 26% to 56%.
"The strong established links between our schools and the business community have made an important contribution to this improvement."
Goldman Sachs is not commenting.
Tony Blair has said that eventually, every secondary school will be either an academy or a trust school.
Under the academy programme, sponsors have been putting in up to £2m to help build or rebuild schools, with the rest of the money coming from the state.
Sponsors so far have included charities, businesses, the Church of England and more recently, councils themselves, who have co-sponsored academies.
The UBS bank has sponsored an academy in Hackney in east London, a 15-minute walk from its headquarters, which will open in September.