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Prince Henry's given financial notice to improve

Prince Henry's given financial notice to improve

Published at 1:45pm 6th July 2016. (Updated at 4:01pm 6th July 2016)

Concerns have been raised about the financial position of an academy trust running an Otley school.

The Government's Education Funding Agency has written to Prince Henry's Grammar, issuing it with a Financial Notice to Improve.

The letter highlights:

  • The Trust’s failure to balance its budget.
  • The Trust’s failure to ensure robust financial management, control and oversight.
  • The weak financial position at the Trust which requires financial support from the EFA.

It also sets out a number of conditions which need to be met before the Financial Notice is lifted.

Headteacher Janet Sheriff has moved to reassure parents, saying the Trust first contacted the EFA earlier this year to notify them of budget concerns.

She says the challenges of funding cuts were the reason for their problems, but insists at no time did they go into deficit.

The Trust says it has now met the requirements of the notice and is in a much firmer financial position.

Janet Sheriff's statement in full:

Members of the community should be reassured that there is no reason to worry about the future of Prince Henry’s. In February, we actively approached the EFA to notify them of our budget concerns, share our plan for addressing them and to seek support to action our recovery plan. We then worked closely with the EFA to finalise our plan.

"A Financial Notice is issued as part of EFA routine procedure when an academy requests support in this way. Our Notice has been published several months after we approached the EFA and after we have put most of the recovery plan into action. 

It is also important to note that:

  • The challenges of a real-term cut in our education budget (changes to funding levels and increased costs) led to the budget issue.
  • At no point did the budget actually go into deficit.
  • The information in the Notice is out of date: the requirements have already been met, budget projections are now healthy and the school is in a much firmer financial position.