Academy chain with 31 schools given official notice to improve over finances

One of Britain’s largest academy chains has been given an official notice to improve by the Government over financial irregularities. This is from the Telegraph…

E-Act was issued with a “financial notice to improve” by the Education Funding Agency after it found “weaknesses” in the reporting of the accounts’ for some its 31 schools.

A spokesperson for the EFA said that they had written to E-Act “requiring them to take the necessary actions to improve financial management, control and governance at the Trust.”

It is the first sponsor to be issued with such a notice, and will add to concerns about the rapid expansion of chains and their ability to cope.

Just last week the country’s largest sponsor, Academies Enterprise Trust which runs 65 schools, was barred by the Department for Education from taking on more academies after fears about its growth.

This is the second time that E-Act has been questioned over its finances. In 2008 chairman Lord Bhatia resigned after an inquiry found that the sponsor had failed to comply with financial management requirements.

Now E-Act has been told it did not have enough data from each of its academies, and has agreed not to take on more schools until the issues are resolved, the Times Education Supplement reported.

The chain, which has three months to respond to the warning, said it had already implemented changes to and was “confident” that it would be able to meet concerns.

Mary Bousted, general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, said the development called into question the Government’s policy of allowing rapid expansion of academy chains.

She said that it raised “very big questions” and expansion should be blocked unless the chain can prove it has the correct systems in place to cope.

More at:  Academy chain warned over finances

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