School’s “vulnerable” financial position

May 03 2017

A REVIEW of the organisation that runs Yate and Winterbourne international academies has resulted in a report describing its financial position as “vulnerable”.

A REVIEW of the organisation that runs Yate and Winterbourne international academies has resulted in a report describing its financial position as “vulnerable”.

The document published by South Gloucestershire’s internal audit service said significant changes were now required to allow the separation of the two schools’ finances.

The Ridings’ Federation of Academies currently still has responsibility for the Yate and Winterbourne sites but the Yate academy - including the secondary school, primary phase and nursery - is set to transfer to the Greenshaw Learning Trust in September.

A request for the review of the federation’s governance and financial management was made by Ridings’ trustees after a financial notice to improve was issued by the Education Funding Agency in light of a potential £1 million deficit by the end of the current academic year.

The audit service’s report referred to a “complex and costly 

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centralised staffing resource” and an “ambiguity over who is ultimately charged with responsibility for safeguarding the federation’s budgets at an executive level”.

It said the central support size was “more akin to a multi-academy trust many times larger”.

But it said: “There was no evidence of irregularity and no material transactions with related parties that would cause concern.” 

It said the federation had been through a sustained period of turbulence, with many significant changes to its executive team.

Staff did not communicate with each other effectively and regularly, while financial information to the board and the executive team had been lacking in transparency.

However, the service said it was encouraged by the openness, transparency and willingness of the interim chief executive principal and current trustees to address issues quickly and learn from the past.