Academy trust ordered to pay back more than £100k funding

The BBC is reporting that a Birmingham academy chain must pay back more than £100,000 in government funding.

Perry Beeches Academy Trust claimed about £2.8m from the Education Funding Agency for free school meals but only kept limited records of its entitlements…

The trust, which runs five schools and looks after 2,400 pupils, has been ordered to hand back £118,000 to the EFA for failing to keep records of pupils entitled to free school meals for the years 2013 and 2014, and only limited data for 2015.

It is the second financial controversy at the trust, which was also found to have paid an additional salary of £160,000 over two years to its chief executive Liam Nolan through a third party agreement – on top of his £120,000-a-year salary.

In a letter to the trust, the EFA has expressed concerns over “significant weaknesses in financial management and governance” of the schools and sought assurances that these concerns will be addressed with adequately qualified staff…

A spokesperson for the school said: “This was a genuine administration error on the system as the details were overwritten by someone who mistakenly thought that was the right way to do it.”

“The management of administration was one of the points the EFA picked up on in the report and the trust have been working with them to correct procedures such as this one.”

“The trust feels that if a mistake has been made and that money has been claimed by the trust in error, then it of course has to be repaid.”

More at Birmingham Academy to pay back more than £100k funding

 

Read more about the issues at the trust in the Birmingham Post: Academy chain learns a lesson at the school of hard knocks

 

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Comments

  1. TW

    So this Academy Trust, the supposed purpose of which is to show everyone else how to do things properly, has never heard of backing up data?

  2. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove The embarrassment oozing out of this MAT is seemingly endless. Is this the future of education in current political climate?

  3. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove Unsure whether to be reassured they’ve been caught (better systems in place?) or whether £ ploughed into acads encourages it

  4. Perry Beeches protests too much.  Head Liam Nolan says mistakes occurred because he wasn’t a businessman – but had enough nous to set up his own limited company to receive an income from the trust.  Now the trust is saying it was an administrative oversight re FSM pupils.   Unacceptable excuse – should not have set up a charitable trust and company if they hadn’t a clue about admin.

  5. andylutwyche SchoolsImprove  It wasn’t better oversight that caught PB but a whistleblower.    This was the same at other trusts sent Financial Notices to Improve: Cuckoo Hall, Sawtry, Durand, Barnfield.  System too reliant on whistleblowers.

  6. andylutwyche SchoolsImprove Not the first time that heads highly-praised by politicians who have been criticised for financial irregularities:  Jo Shuter, Greg Martin (still under Charities Commission investigation), Peter Birkett, Patricia Sowter, Sajid Raza (on trial for fraud), Greg Wallace.  And now Liam Nolan.
    Too little scrutiny of these superheads, said the Guardian after the Shuter affair.  http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/may/15/jo-shuter-heroes-scrutiny-swindling-super-head  Not just superheads, of course, power + overconfidence + Teflon infects many academy trusts.

  7. MPierlejewski

    maxindien SchoolsImprove Teach First are still recruiting if you have the right degree quals. Try their website.

  8. VictoriaJaquiss

    A genuine error! Don’t make me laugh. There’s not enough money in the education system as it is.

  9. chillisalsa

    SchoolsImprove Somerset school emphasized that if I claimed free school meals they could claim extra funding -no concern if my child ate!

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