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Investigation into Richard Gilliland still active

By Lincolnshire Echo  |  Posted: October 11, 2012

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Police have assured concerned parents and pupils that an investigation into shamed school "super head" Richard Gilliland is still ongoing.

It comes in the same week that the chairman of the scandal-hit Priory Federation of Academies Trust stepped down and a new board of trustees was set up.

Meanwhile, the Department for Education (DfE) has finally closed its probe into the 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 Mr Gilliland had used his school credit card to buy erotic games and sex supplements.

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A damning report from the DfE also found that he had employed his wife, son and daughter in lucrative positions and spent school cash on a luxurious makeover of a flat at the trust's Laughton Manor equestrian centre and a private apartment in a French chateaux retreat, which he intended to use.

Mr Gilliland resigned ahead of the report being made public.

Lincolnshire Police launched an investigation in March.

Police spokesman James Newall said: "Investigations in this case are still ongoing.

"Enquiries like this do often take a long time but as soon as we are in a position to provide an update, we will do."

Following Mr Gilliland's resignation, the DfE's Education Funding Agency (EFA) launched a full investigation into the trust's financial management, forcing interim chief executive Ian Jones to lay out a 25-point action plan.

As part of the plan, a newly-formed board met for the first time on Monday, October 8.

At the meeting, Terry Coffey, who was Trust chairman during the scandal, stepped down.

A further six former board members have also stepped down, joining Mr Coffey, Lincolnshire County Council's representative Christine Talbot and Mr Gilliland himself.

After announcing his retirement, Mr Coffey, who had served on the board since 2008, said he had left the trust on the soundest possible footing.

"I was tasked by the DfE with creating an accountable, effective and fully functioning organisation which was capable of delivering the highest standards and best practice," he said.

"I have done exactly that and I am now proud to hand over, as I had always intended, to the next generation."

The new board is made up of ten new members and two former members – June Kirton and new chairman Howard Gee.

New members include Kate Hindmarch, a partner at Langleys Solicitors LLP in Lincoln, Frank Knowles, a self-employed education consultant and inspector, and Deborah Harry, chief finance officer at the University of Lincoln.

Lincolnshire County Council is now working to select its own representative to sit on the board and has said it will fill the position "in due course".

Council leader Martin Hill said: "While the DfE have overall responsibility for the management of the Priory schools – as with all academies – we are pleased to have a place on the board to ensure good practice and accountability."

The DfE has also said that officers will be meeting the new board to assess its progress in the coming weeks.

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  • Roadscource  |  October 11 2012, 5:12PM

    "Lock him up." Thats too good for him, stick him on Crossing Patrol at Monks Abbey Primary School!

    |   13
  • TomWhimpole  |  October 11 2012, 4:36PM

    Lock him up.

    |   9