Two trusts handed improvement notices for financial failings
Two academy trusts have received financial notices to improve following investigations that uncovered a number of financial irregularities.
Newton Academy Trust and All Saints MAT in Merseyside have received sanctions after it was discovered that their Chief Executive was receiving a salary from each trust for working combined hours equivalent to 8.3 days per week.
Patrick Ferguson headed up both trusts from 2019 to 2020, drawing £142,925 for his role as chief executive and principal of Newton Academy Trust. During the same period, he was also paid £150,000 pro rata for his role at All Saints MAT, where he was contracted to work “not less than 3.3 days a week.”
Mr Ferguson’s combined salary resulted in him being amongst the highest paid academy chief executives in the country.
In addition to the two roles at Newton and All Saints, in 2019 the super-head was also retained on a six month contract by St Francis Xavier’s College, for which he was paid £123,984.
The double salary arrangement by both Newton Academy Trust and All Saints MAT was described by the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) as “novel and contentious”.
Following the investigation, Matthew Clements-Wheeler, Former chair of the Institute of School Business Leaders, warned that trusts could “never be too transparent” and advised that early consultation with the ESFA before “making complicated arrangements” – such as drawing additional external salaries in addition to a full time position – could avoid issues from arising further down the line. Contact Haslers Education Team.