Financial notice issued to the Giles Academy Trust

A financial notice to improve has been issued to the Giles Academy Trust after it purchased an area of land without seeking advance approval from the government.

The notice, which was issued to Stephen Robinson, chair of trustees at the Gile Academy Trust, read: “As you are aware,the Trust purchased an area of agricultural land to be converted into additional playing fields for the Giles Academy. The Trust failed to seek advance approval from the Education Funding Agency (EFA) and financed the purchase by negotiating a four-year repayment term from the vendor, placing a legal charge over the Trust’s existing land. Paragraph 3.8.1 of the Academies Financial Handbook clearly states that academy trusts must seek and obtain prior written approval from EFA for acquiring a freehold of land or buildings.”

Under the current rules, academy trusts must seek EFA approval for borrowing from any source, where such borrowing is to be repaid from grant monies or secured on assets funded by grant monies.

The letter did thank Robinson for appointing a new accounting officer in April 2016, but also cautioned that there were a number of further instances of non-compliance with the Academies Financial Handbook, including failing to publish on its website relevant business and pecuniary interests of members, trustees, local governors and accounting officers.

The Trust’s progress will now be monitored and could face further sanctions if it fails to meet the specified requirements.

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