Spending spree head banned for life

A former headteacher who went on a spending spree of more than £17,000 using school credit cards has been banned from teaching for life.

Elizabeth Hart was head at Field Court Church of England Infants Academy, in Gloucester until 2014.

A report from the professional conduct panel of the Teaching Regulation Agency saysshe spent some £17,855 on school cards on flowers, goods from supermarkets, garden equipment, clothes from major chain stores and music from iTunes, among other purchases.

It decided she was responsible for irregularities in the financial management of the school, using school funds for things that were not solely for the benefit of the school and/or were poor value.


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The unanswered questions about a free school scandal

After the free-school movement first began, the Kings Science Academy in Bradford became one of the most celebrated schools in the country.

Back in 2010, the incoming education secretary, Michael Gove, warned that the poorest children were being left to the worst education while richer families were buying their way to quality education through private schools or expensive houses in catchment areas.

Free schools, he promised, would change this.

“By allowing new schools, we will give all children access to the kind of education only the rich can afford,” Mr Gove said

Nothing represented this ambition better than the Kings Science Academy.


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Ministers turn to big business for help running schools

The academies minister Lord Agnew has appealed to leading city business professionals to become school governors and trustees.

During a meeting at auditors KPMG today, the minister urged senior staff to join the 250,000 people already running England’s schools.

The meeting was co-hosted by Academy Ambassadors, a programme run by the New Schools Network which has linked 1,200 businesspeople with schools since 2013.

According to the government, the “big four” professional services firm is just the latest company to meet with Agnew to discuss “opportunities for its top executives”.


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Why schools are still fighting academisation

Freedom is the stated aim of academisation. It is a policy designed to give schools more autonomy in spending, teaching and organisation. Brought into law by the Academies Act 2010, academisation is the process by which publicly funded schools are moved out of the control of local education authorities and into the control of private organisations called charitable trusts. These trusts can run multiple schools, and are free to choose what they teach (without having to follow the National Curriculum), who they appoint as board members or teachers, and how they spend their budget, which comes directly from the Department for Education. They are not allowed to make a profit. 

Are schools made more free by academisation, and does freedom lead to a better education for children? 


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‘Financial issues’ threatened 90 academy trusts, auditors warned

Auditors raised concerns that financial issues could threaten the future of more than 90 academy trusts, new data from the Department for Education has shown.

The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) today published a note outlining “key assurance findings” from work it carried out in 2017-18, which included a review of academy trust financial statements, funding audits and financial management and governance returns.

It breaks down the reasons auditors gave for raising concerns about 2016-17 academy trust accounts.


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