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News - 2 May 2012

“Serious Failings” in some Academy Schools.

An investigation by The Department for Education says there have been "serious failings" in the financial management of the Priory Federation of Academies Trust in Lincolnshire.

The report was into the financial management of the trust, which runs four schools in Lincolnshire - The Priory Academy LSST, The Priory Witham Academy, The Priory City of Lincoln Academy and The Priory Ruskin Academy.

The report found that the trust's former chief executive had

  • Used the federation's credit card to buy training for his son valued at £4,000, and purchase personal goods and to pay fees for tax advice.
  • He had also converted and decorated part of a property owned by the trust with the aim of moving in with his wife and had established a private apartment at a French property owned by the federation.
  • His daughter was hired by the trust as consultant and paid £55,500 for a year's work, and she was also paid nearly £900 in expenses for a trip to Bali "to establish an itinerary for a diving holiday for boarders".

The report also had concerns about the Finance Director who retired last December.

The case has been taken up by critics of the academy programme in England, the general secretary of the National Union of Teachers Christine Blower said:
 "This is quite an extraordinary abuse of position and power and confirms the NUT's fears about where the lack of accountability in academies can lead".

Peter Ham Chief Auditor and Head of Schools and Charities at ABDS says:

“The financial accountability systems in place for Academies are more rigorous than those for maintained schools, and Academies must have their accounts externally audited. This is where ABDS can help.”

If you need any help and advice on Schools and or Charities, contact ABDS to discuss how we can help.

ABDS Chartered Certified Accountants of Southampton.
Tel: 023 8083 6900  E-mail: abds@netaccountants.net

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