Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Pupils Were Left 'Unsupported' at Brent Primary: News

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Pupils Were Left 'Unsupported' at Brent Primary: News

Article excerpt

Findings revealed in probe of claims of SEN funding misuse.

A school at the centre of allegations that it misused special educational needs (SEN) funding failed to properly support its pupils and left them without qualified teachers, investigators have revealed.

Officials from Brent Council - whose schools have been hit by a series of allegations of "financial irregularities" - also suggested that teaching assistants were on the payroll at Kensal Rise Primary, northwest London, but may not have been "present at work". Their probe was prompted by SEN funding allegations made by a former member of staff, dating back to 2010, which the council insists are "totally unfounded".

But the council's finance director, Clive Heaphy, now admits that his investigators did not interview school staff suggested by whistle-blowers, even though they would "most likely" have confirmed allegations that pupils were "unsupported".

Other "management issues" were identified at Kensal Rise by investigators. However, Brent said it will never release full details because former head Joyce Page resigned earlier this year before any decision could be taken over whether to discipline her. The authority cited "alleged breaches of financial regulation" when it originally suspended Ms Page and took control of the primary's budget in February. But this week a spokeswoman would not confirm that the issues were financial in nature. She said that revealing what had been uncovered would be inappropriate because it "would prejudice against the individual (Ms Page)". …

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