A SCHOOL for pupils with special needs is under investigation following claims of serious financial mismanagement.
Officials from the Education Funding Agency, which oversees the funding of academies and free schools, are looking to recover at least £162,000 claimed to have been misspent by Glendene Arts Academy in Easington.
A report by the Department for Education was published on Friday, followed an investigation, prompted by whistle-blower claims over the use of academy resources to pay the salaries of employees as well as the running costs of a private company.
During their investigation into the Crawlaw Road school, the EFA found there was no discernable benefit for the academy from an unnamed private company, initially set up for training and fund-raising, which is financed by the school and £162,000 should have been used for the benefit of academy pupils.
A number of staff have been suspended, although the report did not say who, and the police are in the early stages of investigating the situation.
Auditors concluded that the majority of the costs incurred since the school became an academy in 2012 went on staff salaries and expenses, as well as £718 on mobile phones and £4,326 was spent on “principal’s meetings” away from the site.
The report also found that £289.94 had been used to buy bucks fizz for the official opening of the academy by the Duke of Edinburgh last year.
After the investigation Glendene Arts Academy was ordered to draw up a financial action plan to meet regulations.