England

Leeds school says Liam Nolan has 'learned from mistakes'

Liam Nolan
Image caption Liam Nolan is to be principal at a "non-judgmental" school in Leeds which says he has learned from his mistakes

The ex-boss of a flagship academy trust who was feted by former prime minister David Cameron before quitting amid a financial investigation has learned from his mistakes, his new school says.

Welcoming Liam Nolan, The GORSE Academies Trust said it was a "non-judgmental employer".

He will be principal at the trust's The Ruth Gorse Academy in Leeds from September.

Mr Nolan had been running Birmingham's Perry Beeches Academy Trust.

As chief executive there, he oversaw five schools before quitting in May 2016.

Image caption Then prime minister David Cameron and education secretary Michael Gove were at the opening of one of Perry Beeches Academy Trust's schools

A spokesperson for The GORSE Academies Trust said its selection process "examined in detail the circumstances leading to Mr Nolan's departure" from Perry Beeches.

Two months before his resignation, the Education Funding Agency (EFA), which was investigating Mr Nolan's salary, criticised the Birmingham trust for "significant weakness in financial management".

It was issued with a financial notice to improve.

Special measures

In October 2016, a deficit of £2.1m was found, with the trust saying it was a result of "poor budgetary control".

The following month, one of the trust's schools was rated "inadequate" by Ofsted - another within the chain was put in special measures in October 2015.

By November 2016, more details of findings by the EFA emerged.

It was investigating allegations of "novel and contentious use of trust funds and assets" and irregular expenditure.

Mistakes

Among the findings was that one of Mr Nolan's family members received £2,700 towards the cost of an Open University degree course.

A statement from The Gorse Academies Trust said "we believe that under [Mr Nolan's] leadership, the Ruth Gorse Academy will go from strength to strength".

It added: "We are entirely satisfied that whatever mistakes were made have been fully understood and learned from.

"[The Trust] is an inclusive, caring and non-judgemental employer and we are proud to be welcoming Liam Nolan to such a key role with us."

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