Academy boss quits over probe into school finances

The head of a major chain of academy schools is to quit following major criticism over alleged financial mismanagement by the group. This is from the Telegraph…

Sir Bruce Liddington – one of the best-paid figures in education – will announce his formal resignation on Friday after four years in charge of E-ACT.

It is believed Sir Bruce, who earned around £300,000 in 2010-11, including pension and expenses, agreed to quit after pressure was put on him by the organisation’s board.

E-ACT is the second largest provider of academies, overseeing 31 schools educating 20,000 pupils.

But the group was dealt a major blow last week after it emerged it had been hit with an official warning by the Government over financial mismanagement.

It become the first academy sponsor to be issued with a “financial notice to improve” by the Education Funding Agency following a series of “weaknesses” in the way it handled its schools’ accounts.

Academies are funded directly from Whitehall – bypassing local councils – and have complete freedom to alter the curriculum, staff pay and reshape the school day and academic year.

It is understood that the chain has been banned from taking on more academies until its financial record improves.

A source close to the academies programme said: “This shows the E-ACT board is clearly taking decisive action to renew its leadership.”

Sir Bruce, a former head teacher, was knighted after turning around Northampton School for Boys.

He spent a decade as a senior civil servant working on the academies programme and was latterly appointed as Schools Commissioner. He took over at E-ACT in 2009.

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