I understand that the Village School, a special school in Brent that was to join a Multi-Academy Trust, will remain within the Brent local authority into January 2019.
The academy and MAT conversion process has been “deferred” pending an ESFA investigation into financial “irregularities”.
The investigation was triggered by whistleblowing from NEU members regarding allegations that off-payroll consultants were interfering with governance and Human Resources matters at the Woodfield Trust whilst receiving up to £240,000 for “services as defined by the school”. They claim the financial due diligence process carried out by governors was led by one of these consultants.
Furthermore they allege that since the MAT process was started, consultants have continued to be paid with funds intended for the education of SEND children in the borough. Restructure of the senior leadership teams has increased the funds at the top levels while vacancies remain unfilled and agency staffing increases in the classrooms.
NEU members at the school are seeking a further ballot for strike action, following their 13 days last year, to try to keep their school in the local authority.