Barnfield investigation referred to police

Barnfield College, opening higher Education centre, pod. New Bedford Road, Luton. with Jack Sapsworth  and Pete Birkett.

Barnfield College, opening higher Education centre, pod. New Bedford Road, Luton. with Jack Sapsworth and Pete Birkett.


Police are assessing a government report into the Barnfield Federation to determine whether “financial irregularties” will require a criminal investigation.

Allegations that the college wrongly claimed nearly £1 million for students which it has no record of teaching and lost £1.25 million in failed projects were made by BBC Three Counties Radio this morning, who claim to have seen a leaked copy of the as yet unpublished report.

Former director general of the Barnfield Federation, Sir Peter Birkett, told the Luton News he will not be commenting until the report is published.

A Skills Funding Agency spokesperson said: “A joint Skills Funding Agency and Education Funding Agency investigation was launched last year following serious allegations relating to financial irregularities and governance at the Barnfield Federation.

“This investigation has now concluded and the reports have been passed to the police. The police have advised us not to publish the reports until they have concluded their assessment.

“It would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage.”

A Hertfordshire Police spokesperson confirmed the report has been referred to them and a decision whether to investigate is expected next week.

The Federation, which Sir Peter Birkett founded, had its head office in Harpenden until recently.

The BBC alleged that Sir Peter Birkett was offered two pay-offs, a car and holiday allowance when he resigned as director general of the Federation in July despite only being entitled to holiday allowance.

A Barnfield College spokesperson said they would not be commenting until a report is published.

The SfA said they do not comment on leaked documentation.

The Luton News broke the news in October that the Department for Education and Skills Funding Agency were investigating the Federation.

Last week a new interim chief executive, Dame Jackie Fisher, was appointed, replacing Helen Mayhew and Stephen Hall.

On Friday, Sandy Upper School in Sandy which was due to convert to a Barnfield Academy was withdrawn from the Federation by the DfE.

A report from Further Education Commissioner Dr David Collins CBE who visited Barnfield College last month is expected to be published imminently but it is not known when the DfE and SfA reports will be published.




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