Investigation launched into finances of primary school in Kilburn
- Credit: Archant
An investigation has been launched into the finances of a failing primary school in Kilburn after teachers claimed they were forced to buy basic equipment for pupils.
Following the allegations, Brent Council has sent auditors to St Mary’s Catholic Primary School, in Canterbury Road.
A group of teachers, who have asked not to be named, told the Times a lack of funds left pupils without exercise books and they were forced to pay for pens, glue sticks and items required for scientific experiments.
They also alleged there was little evidence that pupil premium funding, which is given to schools in England by the government to raise the attainment of disadvantaged pupils, was being spent appropriately. The staff are also questioning what they describe as ‘‘large amounts’’ of budget expenditure on external advisors who allegedly had links to some members of senior management.
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Concerned staff claim a letter sent to the board of governors asking for key issues in the school to be tackled, had not received a response.
The claims are a double blow to the school following the publication of a damning Ofsted report earlier this month.
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The school was placed in special measures following an inspection in March by the education watchdog.
The report claims leaders failed to effectively monitor the attainment of pupils to ensure they developed good attitudes to learning. It needed to improve the quality of teaching, the achievement of pupils and behaviour and safety of children in the school, and that its leadership and management was inadequate.
However, the school, which had been previously rated “good”, was commended for providing a safe and enjoyable environment for its students, and “rapid” progress was made by year six pupils across Key Stage 2 in 2011 and 2012.
Alphonsus Reilly, the school’s headteacher, declined to comment when contact by the Times.
Daniel Wade, chairman of governors, questioned the validity of the claims but said he was ensuring that the running of the school was done with complete transparency and integrity.
He said: “St Mary’s is very disappointed with the Ofsted report. It is important to note that the recent dip in writing and teaching assessment results has been addressed and the 2014 assessments will demonstrate significant improvement across the board.”
Sara Williams, operational director for education and early help at Brent Council, said: “These are the first allegations of financial mismanagement at this school that we have received and we are taking them very seriously.
‘‘The council’s audit and investigation team has taken swift action and is already carrying out a full audit of the school’s finances.”