A government investigation has uncovered a swathe of financial and governance failings at a single academy trust – including “potential irregularity” over football tickets costing more than £4,000.
The investigation into Westfield Academy, a mixed secondary school with a sixth form in Hertfordshire, also found a former finance boss had been paid a £22,600 honorarium (a voluntary payment for doing work outside their role) that was in breach of pay policies.
The investigation, triggered by anonymous allegations received in August and September 2017, found issues including misuse of school funds and assets, non-compliance with procurement, abuse of position and lack of transparency surrounding financial information.
Academy trust rapped over boss’ £23,000 ex-gratia fee
Academy bosses will get a seat at the table with Ofsted inspectors as the watchdog moves forward on plans to beef up its inspection of trusts.
The watchdog has completed a series of trials visiting a “small number” of trusts to test a more open approach to inspecting groups of schools in academy chains.
Schools Week understands this involves academy trust leaders now meeting with inspectors to talk about the findings of their batch inspections – where a number of a trust’s schools are all inspected in a few days.
Ofsted signals changes to academy trust inspections
The search is on for sponsors to take on six schools which are set to leave a troubled academy chain.
Bright Tribe announced today that its last six schools are to rebrokered.
Regional schools commissioners will now find sponsors to take on five of its schools in the East of England and its last remaining school in the North, according to the trust.
Bright Tribe was once seen by the Government as a strong performing trust and given a share in £5m fund to create a hub of Northern schools.
However the chain has since been engulfed in controversy.
Damian Hinds has criticised Labour’s plans to put a halt to the academies programme, labelling them as “reckless”.
The education secretary said returning academies and free schools to local authority oversight would “turn the clock back on the successful education reforms we have enacted”, and on “the 1.9 million more children at good or outstanding schools”.
Hinds: Labour academies plan is ‘reckless’