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Department for Education closes investigation into the Priory Federation of Academies Trust

By RButcher__LE  |  Posted: October 08, 2012

Richard Gilliland, former chief executive at Lincoln's Priory Federation of Academies Trust.

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A government probe into a scandal-hit group of schools has been completed.

Education bosses have announced the end of their scrutiny of the Priory Federation of Academies Trust, which includes the Priory Academy LSST, City of Lincoln Academy, Ruskin Academy and Witham Academy

The trust was rocked earlier this year when it was revealed former chief executive Richard Gilliland had used his school credit card to buy sex games, supplements and home furnishings.

He also employed his wife, son and daughter in well-paid positions, which even included expenses for a "fact finding trip" to the island paradise of Bali.

Other findings in a damning report also revealed that school cash had been spent on a luxurious makeover of a flat at the trust's Laughton Manor equestrian centre, in Sleaford, and a private apartment at the Centre des Etoiles outdoor retreat in Bayeux, France, intended to be used by the shamed former chief executive.

Following the resignation of Mr Gilliland, The Department for Education's Education Funding Agency (EFA) launched a full investigation into the financial mismanagement, forcing the board of trustees to make robust changes.

Interim chief executive Ian Jones laid out a 25-point action plan in light of the EFA's investigation, which included the resignation of up to nine of the trustees sitting on the board - including Mr Gilliland himself and Lincolnshire County Council's representative Christine Talbot.

A newly-formed board of trustees will meet tonight.

Ahead of the meeting, chairman of the trust Terry Coffey has revealed that EFA staff met with the board during the summer holidays and closed the Department for Education's investigation.

Martin Lamb, the EFA's regional director of academies, wrote to Mr Coffey and said: "We concluded that the trust had dealt effectively and in a timely manner with all the issues identified in its action plan.

"We are pleased that arrangements are progressing well towards developing the new board of governors and associated structures.

"October's meeting will be the transition point from the old in to the new arrangements.

"We recognised the achievements that have been made in developing new and robust policies for the trust and note that with the change in governance from October 2012, a new way of working will be established."

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  • dikvdyke  |  October 10 2012, 11:01AM

    There must be very unusual circumstances for his behaviour and conduct in the school or Mr Gilliland must know someone high up the local authorities for him to be immune from any kind of prosecution. Very strange indeed.

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