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Khalsa Academies Trust told to improve governance

The Khalsa Academies Trust has been warned by the government it must improve its financial management.

The Education Skills and Funding Agency (ESFA) issued the trust, which runs Khalsa Secondary Academy, with a Financial Notice to Improve on Wednesday, February 12.

The notice said trustees had failed to maintain ‘robust oversight’ of the academy trust’s finances and lacked the skills necessary for effective governance.

It follows a no-notice Ofsted inspection in December which saw the school in Hollybush Hill rated inadequate with inspectors recommending it be placed in special measures.

The letter from ESFA said: “This letter and its annex serve as written notice to improve financial management, control and governance of the trust. It reflects the continued concerns over the governance, management and oversight of the trust by the board of trustees.”

Schools subject to financial notices must run spending decisions past the agency.

The trust has been told to launch an independent review of its financial management within six weeks and prepare an action plan to address any weaknesses identified.

It also has to ensure the board of trustees have the correct skills to challenge and hold to account the trust’s executive management team.

If the trust fails to comply with ESFA’s requests it has been warned a termination process could be triggered over the school’s funding agreement with the government.

A spokesman for the Khalsa Academies Trust said it acknowledged and accepted the comments made and was already addressing this before being contacted by ESFA.

He added: “Following a full review of our accounts and finances, we are pleased that the ESFA found that there was no evidence or suggestion of any financial malpractice at our trust.

“Our children and our schools are absolutely central to all that we do, and we are committed to ensuring that we use our resources effectively to get the very best outcomes for them.

“That being said, we acknowledge and accept the comments made in relation to financial governance.

“In fact, this is an area that we were already addressing prior to the ESFA contacting us.”

The trust added three new appointments had been made to the board of trustees which will enhance its financial practice and it will comply with any recommendations ESFA highlighted which are not already underway.

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