‘Arrogant’ headteacher on £200k ‘bought condoms and spa pool on Amazon using school credit card’

The Mail is reporting that an ‘arrogant’ and ‘bullying’ superhead defrauded flagship academy schools out of thousands of pounds in a series of internet spending sprees, a court heard yesterday.

Richard Gilliland, 64, treated school cash reserves as his personal property, using an academy credit card to pay for hundreds of purchases on Amazon. They included a packet of condoms, a six-person spa pool, three DVD players and an iPad.

Gilliland, who was paid £200,000 a year to run four state schools, also hired his jailbird son after arranging for the results of a damning Criminal Records Bureau check to be concealed from the trustees of the Priory Federation of Academies in Lincoln.

Jurors were told the son, Kia Richardson, 29, had convictions for flashing at a 14-year-old girl and touching himself in public, possession of heroin and drink-driving. He had served a six-month jail term, but was nevertheless employed as a yard manager at an equestrian centre run by the federation.

David Allan, prosecuting, said Gilliland had been motivated by greed – and used school funds to send his son on training courses before the equine centre had even been bought. Documents showed Richardson was appointed to the post five days before his application form was submitted…

Mr Allan said the federation’s finance director, Stephen Davies, a former maths teacher who had no accountancy qualifications, connived with Gilliland, its chief executive, to facilitate his spending spree.

‘Mr Gilliland dishonestly used money belonging to four schools for his own benefit and he was helped to do this by Stephen Davies,’ said Mr Allan.

‘You are going to hear a story of greed and dishonesty by these two people charged with the running of four state schools…

Mr Allan said Gilliland had virtually negotiated his own salary and became ‘absolutely reckless as to what expenses were his’…

Gilliland, who now lives in Spain, denies six charges of fraud by abuse of position. Davies, 58, of Lincoln, denies three charges of fraud by abuse of position…

More than £60million of taxpayers’ money has been spent on developing the schools within the federation. The trial continues.

More at: ‘Arrogant’ £200,000-a-year headteacher ‘bought spa pool, DVD players and condoms on school credit card during series of internet shopping sprees’ 


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Categories: Academies and Leadership.


  1. TW

    rrunsworth SchoolsImprove  Because they followed the loony expectations of the government and pro-academy nutters by leaving almost everything to the head except for some superficial and pointless chattering about ‘strategic’ accountability?

  2. At last – the scandal, which was discovered in 2012, has actually made it to Court.  EFA investigations found money spent on ‘inappropriate’ supplies (aka sex games) delivered to school premises, expensive refurbishment of a flat and inappropriate use of the Federation’s credit card.  https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/342848/Investigation_report_Priory_Federation_of_Academies_Trust.pdf

  3. @TW rrunsworth SchoolsImprove The Priory Federation was set up under Labour in 2008 and featured in pro-academy propaganda published in 2007.  http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20130401151715/http://www.education.gov.uk/publications/eOrderingDownload/DCSF-00929-2007.pdf
    Deception about academies began as soon as they were started – and it’s ballooned since then.  http://www.localschoolsnetwork.org.uk/2012/03/deception-about-academies-has-been-going-on-since-they-first-opened/

  4. rrunsworth SchoolsImprove One of the trustees, a local Lincolnshire councillor, said she believed she didn’t have sufficient oversight (!) and academy accountability needed tightening up.  Ironic – since Lincolnshire recommended that all its schools became academies early in the last Government.  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-lincolnshire-17820534

  5. ‘It is not our job to defend the individual decisions that academies have made, because they have the freedom and flexibility to take those decisions.’ Peter Luener, EFA, to Public Accounts Committee. Margaret Hodge, then chair, wasn’t impressed, commenting on the Priory Federation she said:
     When these stories reach us, you began thinking, “Crumbs, this is the beginning of things going badly wrong,” 

    That was in November 2011, before the investigation by the EFA (see my comment below) had been completed.
    Five years ago – ‘things going badly wrong’ didn’t stop the Coalition pressing ahead with wholesale academy conversion and allowing a proliferation of academy trusts with the potential for just such misspending.

  6. wasateacher

    What is clear is the length of time it has taken to sort this out!  It is possible that it could happen in a local authority school but not so likely that it would take so long to sort out.  At the school I worked in it took Westminster less than a term to intervene and get rid of a head, and that wasn’t for fraud.  How many other cases of academy credit cards being used for personal expenditure?  This if my record on Priory: 
    FederationPriory Federationemploying family members, financial
    irregularities and more
    FedMaritime AcademyCon. Academy “Inadequate”,
    previously “satisfactory”
    FederationFormer Chief
    Exec charged with fraud
    FederationPriory Witham Academy “requires improvement” after 6
    years – was good

  7. tony49

    SchoolsImprove Tax Payers’ Alliance gone a bit quiet on this one. Obviously they’d rather ‘expose’ high salaries in local government.

  8. tony49

    SchoolsImprove Tax Payers’ Alliance gone a bit quiet on this one. Obviously they’d rather ‘expose’ high salaries in local government.

  9. NASUWT_Leeds15

    SchoolsImprove Academy schools had no safeguards so millions of public money is being lost. Yet Cameron wants more of them

  10. xanabath

    SchoolsImprove bet Nicky Morgan doesn’t mention this head in her academy statistics. Obviously overdid it with the condom purchase!

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