NUT calls for answers from Gove in Barnfield police probe

Barnfield College campus in New Bedford Road, Luton
Barnfield College campus in New Bedford Road, Luton

The deputy general secretary of the National Union of Teachers is calling for local authorities to take responsibility for free schools and acadamies following the revelations about Barnfield College this morning.

A Skills Funding Agency report into Barnfield College and Barnfield Federation has been referred to Hertfordshire Police who will decide if a criminal investigation is required.

Kevin Courtney, Deputy General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said the news comes days after publication of the Department for Education investigation into the Glendene Arts Academy over irregularities in the use of that academy’s funding.

He said: “Whatever the outcome of these investigations, and those at the King’s Science Academy in Bradford, it is becoming increasingly clear that the Secretary of State has failed in his duty to oversee the governance and management of academies and free schools – his key education policy. Clearly this is not a function that can be properly discharged from Whitehall.

“The NUT is calling for the oversight of free schools and academies to be devolved back down to local level with local authorities empowered to assume responsibility for their oversight.

“In addition, the NUT believes that taxpayers have the right to demand answers to the following questions from Michael Gove:

When will the investigation report into the Barnfield Federation be published?

Are there further investigation reports by the DfE or its agencies into irregularities at academies or free schools that have not yet been placed in the public domain?

If so, to which schools do they relate and on what date was each report produced?

As these are state-funded schools, will the Secretary of State publish these reports at the earliest opportunity in the interests of transparency and openness?”