Lincoln Priory trustee resigns after federation financial scandal

Councillor Christine Talbot, a trustee at the Priory Federation of Academies, has resigned from her position following a financial scandal at the federation.

The resignation comes after the academy group outlined its financial action plan in response to a damning report from the Education Funding Agency (EFA).

The report found several issues concerning former CEO Richard Gilliland’s spending and management of the school’s finances.

The investigation revealed Richard Gilliland used federation resources to buy personal and “inappropriate” items, including personal tax advice, training for his son and DVDs.

Conservative Councillor Christine Talbot

He then resigned and the federation, which comprises of Priory Academy LSST, Priory Witham Academy, Priory City of Lincoln Academy and Priory Ruskin Academy, had to outline an action plan.

The plan included establishing a structure capable of holding the federation to account and consider a handover period for any trustees who may not seek reappointment.

Councillor Christine Talbot said: “I am disappointed that the action plan, produced for the trustees, does not strike at the heart of the issues at The Priory.

“I have suggested three additional points to the board that I want to see in their final action plan.

“Essentially, they include a far greater transparency so that everyone knows how taxpayers’ money is spent; the federation offering comprehensive use of their facilities to the wider community; and a plan over the next six months for a complete handover of the governance to an entirely new team of trustees.

“I strongly believe the academy should be focusing on raising standards for our students and restoring pride among the community.

“As the trustees have only partially recognised and accepted my amendments, it is with great sadness that I have tendered my resignation with immediate effect, as indicated in my letter of May 16 to the Federation Chairman.”

Councillor Talbot indicated in the letter to the chairman and trustees that if she was not satisfied with the action plan and her recommendations were not accepted in full, then she would have to consider resigning.