Senior teacher leads call to beef up school auditing
By Vivienne Russell | 3 September 2012
The auditing and oversight of school finances must be made much more robust, the new president of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers has urged.
In his inaugural speech, delivered on September 1, Hank Roberts called for an independent inquiry into how the scrutiny of free schools and academy funds can be strengthened.
Roberts, a London-based geography teacher, has been an active campaigner against what he calls the privatisation of schools. ‘This September sees the opening of the first free school being run for profit as part of [Education Secretary] Michael Gove’s plans to privatise the whole of state education and open it all up for companies to make a profit from our schools,’ he said.
‘Everyone needs to wake up to the threat our whole education system is under before it is too late. Many people realise that the government is privatising the NHS, but opposition to academies and free schools, while growing, is still not as universal as it should and must be.’
Roberts said the advent of free schools and extension of the academies programme had ‘seriously weakened’ accountability.
‘I call upon the government and Mr Gove to fundamentally change tack and strengthen the auditing and oversight of school finances and set up an independent inquiry as to how best this should be done,’ said Roberts.
Earlier this year, the Commons Public Accounts Committee warned that arrangements for the financial scrutiny of academies were weak. It said that there was ‘insufficient emphasis’ on achieving value for money as more schools became free of local authority control.