Education director leaves E-ACT as CEO remains suspended

Staff told senior leader would be absent 'for the foreseeable future'

Staff told senior leader would be absent 'for the foreseeable future'

13 Feb 2022, 7:00

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An award-winning senior leader has left one of the country’s largest trusts as uncertainty continues over the suspension of its chief executive.

Fuzel Choudhury has left as national director of education of E-ACT after less than two years in post.

Colleagues had been told last month he would be “absent from work for the foreseeable future”.

Previously head of Rockwood Academy, the school at the centre of the “Trojan horse” scandal, Choudhury moved to E-ACT’s Heartlands Academy in Birmingham in 2017. It subsequently won two awards.

Choudhury rose rapidly through the ranks, becoming regional education director in June 2019, director of secondary in October 2019 and then national director in July 2020.

A spokesperson said Choudhury wanted “a new challenge”.

In November, Schools Week revealed that Jane Millward, the trust’s chief executive, had been suspended. The trust said this week she “remains away from work”.

Tom Campbell, the chief education officer at Greenwood Academies Trust, is currently acting chief executive.

The trust’s website calls suspension a “neutral” and “precautionary” measure to allow investigations or protection of staff or children.

Newly-published accounts show Millward’s pay – which has previously faced DfE scrutiny – rose to £198,473 in 2020-21, up from £180,959 a year earlier and £155,832 the year previously.

The trust did not confirm if she still received her full salary.

Meanwhile, the accounts reveal external advisers have been hired to look into payments made to staff members that cannot “be determined as in line with funding rules”.

“The academy trust has also identified a contract that needs further consideration of the procurement processes used to ensure value for money was obtained for E-ACT.”

The Education and Skills Funding Agency has been notified about the investigation, with “no formal conclusions” so far.

A spokesperson confirmed the review was ongoing, but said the issues were “not deemed to be material in the context of the financial results reported”.

There is no suggestion the departures are linked to the account findings.

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