‘Significant weaknesses in financial management’ found at B’Ham academy sent Financial Notice to Improve

Janet Downs's picture

The LEAP Academy Trust, which runs the stand-alone Baverstock Academy in Birmingham, has been issued with a Financial Notice to Improve following an investigation by the Education Funding Agency (EFA) into ‘serious allegations’ concerning governance and financial wrongdoing.

The EFA discovered ‘significant weaknesses in financial management and governance’ and found the Academies Financial Handbook (AFH) had been breached regarding ‘lack of independence checks, risk identification and internal controls.’

The Academy is now required to take action which includes:

1 Taking formal measures to ensure it complies with the AFH.

2 Identifying and recording conflicts of interest.

3 Reviewing the policy for handling fraud so ‘appropriate action’ can be taken if fraud is suspected or discovered.

Baverstock Academy was judged Inadequate in September 2014. Monitoring by inspectors in October 2015 found the Academy was ‘not taking effective action towards the removal of special measures’. The predecessor school, Baverstock Foundation School and Specialists Sports College was judged Satisfactory in March 2012.

The Academy’s website explains what academy status means (follow link and click on 'Academy Status'). It includes this: ‘This increase of direct funding to the Academy is clearly something that benefits us greatly.’ But the increased funding comes with statutory responsibilities which must be followed. The EFA has discovered LEAP Academy Trust has not done so.

Thanks to Schools Week for breaking this story.

CORRECTION 12 March 2019 08.15:  Formatting issues resolved.

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