The Perry Beeches academy trust, which was publicly praised by former UK Prime Minister David Cameron and ex-Education Secretary Michael Gove, is to lose control of each of its five academies and free schools. Financial shortcomings at the Birmingham-based trust were first revealed in a report from the Education Funding Agency (EFA) issued earlier this year. This report showed that third-party payments had been made to Liam Nolan, the CEO, in addition to his £120,000 salary. A new report has now revealed “serious concerns” about the Trust’s financial management. The five schools will be handed over to a new academy trust, the West Midlands academies trust, which is headed by David Kershaw. Perry Beeches has declined to comment, but has released a statement by Nolan, who said that he had no involvement in the brokering of the deal.
According to a report, the academy had unlawfully paid Nexus a total of £72,000 along with VAT, and £88,800 plus VAT in 2014-15 for the CEO role. These payments were found to be in violation of the financial regulations and Treasury guidelines governing academies.
In a separate report submitted by the EFA, an investigation found that the trust had inexplicably deleted records of free school meal (FSM) funding eligibility worth over £2.5m until 2015, making it impossible to verify them. Hence, the EFA concluded that the trust had breached the academies financial handbook by not securing any evidence that could validate the eligibility of students for FSM for six years.
In light of the EFA’s report, Nolan announced to TES that he was resigning as the trust’s CEO, and as an executive head, he had taken a pay cut.