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‘Superhead’ Liam Nolan quits Perry Beeches academy trust

‘Superhead’ Liam Nolan quits Perry Beeches academy trust

🕔11.May 2016

Liam Nolan, head of Birmingham’s Perry Beeches academy trust has decided to resign from the organisation along with the entire governing body after an investigation uncovered financial mismanagement, it is reported today.

A statement from the trust obtained by the Guardian newspaper reads:

Liam Nolan has presented his resignation from the post of CEO/executive headteacher at the Perry Beeches academy trust. He has made this decision to allow the necessary changes required to move the trust forward.

According to BBC WM, Mr Nolan has also issued a statement in which he says he has “thoroughly enjoyed” his time at Perry Beeches since 2007 and adds that it has been a “privilege to work alongside colleagues, families and young people”.

Mr Nolan had been absent on sick leave since Easter.

The decision by Mr Nolan and the governors to stand down leaves the management of the trust’s five schools in the hands of the Department for Education, while a search begins for new sponsors.

Parents will be informed of the decision today.

Attempts to access the trust’s website are being blocked by Google, with a warning that the site has “safety and security problems” and should not be viewed.

The events are embarrassing for the Government. David Cameron once described the Perry Beeches academies as among the best in the country and Mr Nolan was praised by Ministers and described as a superhead.

In 2013, Mr Cameron described Mr Nolan and Perry Beeches as “a brilliant team” running “one of the most successful comprehensive schools ever in Britain”.

Debts at the trust are estimated to be in excess of £1.8 million, and rising each month, making it difficult to attract new private sponsors.

Questions were raised after a report by the Education Funding Agency revealed that a service company received nearly £1.3 million from the Trust over two years.

The company paid £160,000 over two years to a business owned by Mr Nolan, the executive head, who was already paid £120,000 a year.

The Trust was also accused of claiming up to £2.8 million for children on free school meals, “where no evidence of eligibility exists” and has been ordered to repay £118,291.

The report described the Trust finances as not being transparent.

Last month Chamberlain Files reported that three Birmingham Labour MPs each received £5,000 from the trust towards the cost of running their offices. The MPs – Gisela Stuart (Edgbaston), Jack Dromey (Erdington) and Shabanah Mahmood (Ladywood) agreed to repay the money.

Birmingham Conservatives said they had also been offered sponsorship, but turned the trust down.

A spokesperson at the Department for Education told the Guardian:

Our priority is ensuring the education of the pupils at the trust isn’t disrupted and we are taking swift action to make sure that the schools in the trust are matched with other high-performing schools so that they can deliver the excellent education its pupils deserve.

Two new free schools – Perry Beeches VI and Perry Beeches primary school, which the trust had been granted approval to open by the DfE – will not now go ahead.

Perry Beeches Academy Trust runs Perry Beeches Academy and four other schools, named Perry Beeches II, III, IV and V.

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