Spring 2018 governance update

Griffin summarise some of the more impactful announcements affecting academies.

Multi Academy Trusts paying their CEO more than £150,000 asked to justify the salary

Eileen Milner, the Chief Executive of the ESFA, has written to the chairs of all Multi Academy Trusts paying their CEO, or any other staff member more than £150,000, asking them to set out their reasoning for the pay packet.

The letter is a continuation on a theme for the Department of Education, who have already written to single-academy trusts asking for the same justification. Furthermore, DfE minister Lord Agnew has previously used tough words regarding executive pay, stating that a MAT CEO should not receive a larger pay rise than teaching staff, which in recent years has been capped at 1%. Lord Agnew also suggested CEO pay should be cut if the performance of a MAT declined.

The announcements appear to be a move to comfort the public, and members of the teaching profession, who have been critical that CEO pay has increased in recent years.

16 to 19 advanced maths premium

When this measure was first announced as part of the budget, schools were initially very excited. The headline announcement was £600 per year for every student studying maths A level. However, as with all of these measures, the devil is in the detail and the £600 is only payable for each additional pupil studying maths A level. Clarification has now been given, that additional will mean the number of pupils above the 2015/16 and 2016/17 average as compared to the number of pupils sitting A level maths in 2017/18.

Details as provided by the ESFA can be found here.

CEO fraud – Schools being targeted

The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau has warned that it has seen an increase in the number of reports where schools have been targeted by CEO fraud. The sting is initiated when a fraudster purports to be the Headteacher or Principal and contacts the member of staff responsible for undertaking bank transfers. The fraudster requests a one-off, often urgent bank transfer and utilises an email address and school branding very similar to that of those used by the school. The amount requested in the transfer is normally between £8,000 and £10,000.

These sort of scams show why it is essential that schools follow their financial procedures, which should include:


  • A procedure whereby any change to bank details are confirmed with an existing contact at a supplier.

  • All purchases should be accompanied by a properly authorised purchase order.

  • Three quotes should be obtained for purchases above a certain limit to ensure value for money is being obtained.

  • Payment runs should require dual authorisation and the list of payments should be properly reviewed.