Private firm took 8% fee for superhead’s second salary

The firm that was paid £1.3 million to provide services to Perry Beeches Academy Trust took an 8 per cent management fee to pay the trust’s chief executive a second salary.

Liam Nolan was banned from teaching this week over his role in the trust paying the £1.3 million to Nexus Schools without a contract or adequate tendering.

The private firm then paid a second salary to Nolan of £160,000 over two years, on top of his £120,000 headteacher salary.

The Teacher Regulation Agency panel report, published on Monday, revealed new details about the case – including that Nexus took an 8 per cent cut as a “management fee” for Nolan’s second salary.

The report said that invoices submitted by Nexus in 2015 for Nolan’s executive services included the management fee, which was not charged in relation to other services.

However, this fee was not charged on earlier invoices, which the report said “called into question the basis on which this charge was made”.

The report also revealed that Nexus provided services, including accountancy, payroll and HR support, for the Perry Beeches schools before they became academies – and did so without a written contract.

The finding raises questions about the level of oversight provided by Birmingham City Council at the time. The council did not respond to a request for comment.

Nolan has argued that his pay arrangements were “transparent and everybody knew about them”. Some trustees did, but other senior staff did not, a government investigation found.

Nexus’ invoices also did not refer to Liam Nolan Limited, the company Nolan’s second salary was paid into.

The panel also saw an unsigned document, dated April 2013 and headed “private and confidential: for members’ eyes only”.

It said that Liam Nolan Limited would apply to Making Learning Work to subcontract the chief executive role and “suggest its employee”, Liam Nolan, “be the CEO”.

Nolan said this was prepared by the chair of governors at the time, Nicola Harris. She was also a director of Making Learning Work, alongside Robert Llewellyn.

The latter is also a director of Nexus Schools. Llewellyn did not respond to a request for comment.

According to Companies House, the firm is under notice to be dissolved. The latest accounts, filed in December last year, show there was £111,867 in shareholders’ funds.

Perry Beeches’ five schools have been rebrokered to other trusts.