Lincoln Priory academy report should not be public yet, says city MP

Lincoln MP Karl McCartney says he does not believe the findings of an investigation into the finances of a city academy group should be made public at this stage.

The Education Funding Agency’s investigation led to the resignation of the chief executive at the federation, Richard Gilliland, on March 30.

The federation was formed in 2008 with four schools: Priory Academy LSST, Priory Witham Academy, Priory City of Lincoln Academy and Priory Ruskin Academy. There are around 5,000 pupils at the four schools.

But the findings that led to the resignation have not been made public, amid demands from Lincoln’s Labour parliamentary candidate, Lucy Rigby.

City MP Karl McCartney believes the findings of the report and the response of the federation trustees should not be made public at this stage

Karl McCartney said it was a shock to learn before Easter of the immediate resignation of Richard Gilliland, who was earning more than £200,000 per year, one of the county’s highest paid public servants.

The Conservative MP said: “I have since spoken to the chairman of the trustees, Lord Hill the Education Minister and the Chief Executive of the EFA over the Easter period and more recently.

“At this stage I do not believe the findings of the report, nor the response of the federation trustees, should be made public.

“I am confident that the Department for Education and EFA are fully aware of all the facts and any decision to make information public is a decision for the federation trustees and others to make.”

Lucy Rigby pleaded that “Thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money goes to these academies every year and obviously hundreds of parents entrust their children to the care of these schools every day. We have a clear right and an urgent need to know what happened — the government needs to publish this report immediately.”

But the Lincoln MP said: “The parents have a right to know that the federation senior management specifically, and the academies’ management teams within it, are operating and making financial decisions that are the right ones for their children.

“I believe the federation and the priory academies will continue to act in the best interests of their pupils and will of course keep parents informed with the information that they need to know.

“In the wider general sense the federation’s decision to purchase both the equestrian centre, the French centre and to invest in the new buildings and facilities at the various academy school sites have been audited and examined by the EFA on behalf of the Department for Education, and judged to have been value for money.”

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