43 trusts named and shamed for late financial returns

Ministers have named and shamed 43 academy trusts that were late submitting financial returns in the last academic year.

Although the government says the “vast majority” of trusts submitted their returns on time, it has published a list of those that did not “in order to improve compliance with the submission deadlines and, in fairness to the trusts who do submit their returns on time”.

The number of chains named and shamed by the government has more than halved since last year, when 88 were listed.

Trusts were included if they failed to submit one or more of their required financial returns on time. These included annual accounts, financial statements, their budget forecast return outturn, three-year budget forecast and land and building collections tool submissions.

Although most of the trusts listed were only late with two submissions, some missed the deadline for three or four.

Gilsland Church of England Primary School was late with its financial statements, annual return and three-year forecast, while Ludlow Junior School and The Aylesbury Vale Academy both missed the deadline for their land and buildings collection responses, along with their accounts and statements.

The Lubavitch Multi-academy Trust was late in returning its financial statements, accounts, three-year budget forecast and land and buildings collection tool submission, only sending its budget forecast return outturn on time.

Notable names on the list include the Astrea Academy Trust, which had to delay publishing its accounts after bringing in auditors to look into “question marks” over its expansion to take on struggling schools.

Hadlow Rural Community School is also on the list. The school is on the site of Hadlow College, which in May became the first college in the country to go into education administration.

The list only names and shames organisations in the academies sector that submitted financial information late, but the government wants to see local authority-maintained schools subject to similar reporting requirements in future years.

In a consultation launched in July, the Department for Education said it also wanted LA-maintained schools to obtain permission for related-party transactions from their councils and declare any school staff paid over £100,000 a year.

 

Named and shamed: The trusts that missed financial reporting deadlines