E-ACT financial notice to improve lifted after more than two years

The government has lifted a financial notice to improve placed on the beleaguered E-ACT Academy Trust more than two years ago.

The Education Funding Agency (EFA) has written to the trust to lift the notice, which was first issued in March 2013 and updated last September.

It comes after E-ACT released 10 of its schools after discussions with the Department for Education, and despite the fact the EFA had continued to raise concerns as recently as March of this year.

In her letter to the trust, EFA academies and maintained schools group director Sue Baldwin said: “My letter of March 20 2015 set out that although the trust had made progress, I remained concerned about the variability of forecasting at academy level and overall reserves meant that I was unable to lift the [notice] at that time.

“I have now reviewed the position further and I am pleased to inform you that I am content that the conditions are all met and that I am satisfied that the trust has in place the required financial controls and processes to comply with the requirements of the funding agreement and academies financial handbook.”

She said she was “grateful” for the assurance provided that E-ACT’s board was satisfied with improvements to the trust’s reserves position, but said it was important that the trust “continues to embed its controls and processes across all its academies”.

An E-ACT spokesperson said: “We are delighted that the EFA have acknowledged the work we’ve undertaken in developing our financial and governance systems and processes.

“We believe that these areas of our work now represent some of the best practice in the sector.”

Barnfield Academy Trust has also been released this week from its notice to improve, which had also been issued in February last year to the Moorlands Free School Trust and Barnfield Skills Academy Trust, which have now all merged into one.

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