Primary school with budget deficit flies trustees to Ibiza for board meeting

Primary school with budget deficit flies trustees to Ibiza for board meeting

An enquiry by the Education and Skills Funding Agency into a funding deficit at a free school in Blackpool, discovered that it had flown its trustees to a board meeting in Ibiza.

The investigation at Langdale Free School followed a tip off. Inspectors who looked into allegations of fiscal mismanagement discovered a £226,000 deficit and a budget report that was “full of financial irregularities.”

The school, which had previously been graded by Ofsted as ‘Good’ had been a fee-paying independent school run by Montague Place, before it converted into a free school in September 2013.

The ESFA investigated the school after it received a number of allegations over poor cash management, the use of public funds for overseas meetings, redundancies due to high salaries, the misuse of pupil premium and sports premium, and school finances being overseen by “another organisation who are all on the governing body and whose salaries are paid for by the trust.”

Although it was discovered that the cost of flying trustees to the meeting in Ibiza had been covered by Montague Place and had not come from public funds, the ESFA was critical of a lack of transparency over travel costs.

The report stated that findings from the review “confirmed that there are weaknesses in financial management”, governance, and breaches of a handbook given to academies that must be complied with.

The school denied misusing funds for travelling to Ibiza, pointing to the fact that the flights had cost “less than £900, which is significantly less than what would have been the cost of the directors travelling to and staying in Blackpool for two days”.

Primary school with budget deficit flies trustees to Ibiza for board meeting

Primary school with budget deficit flies trustees to Ibiza for board meeting