Liam Nolan

On Thursday afternoon, just as most people were getting ready for the long Easter weekend, the government quietly published the findings of an inquiry into a chain of Academy schools in Birmingham.

The story was an embarrassment because the Tories are planning to turn all primary and secondary schools into Academies, claiming this will raise standards.

But if the Birmingham investigation is any indication, it also illustrates what happens when schools face less scrutiny, as Academies do.

The investigation found that a Birmingham academy trust, which runs five secondary schools in the area, paid nearly £1.3 million to a business which then paid a “second salary” to one of its headteachers.

It revealed that the Trust made payments of £1.297 million over two years to a business called Nexus Schools Ltd, which itself sub-contracted another company called Liam Nolan Ltd, whose sole director is Liam Nolan.

Liam Nolan is also one of three executive headteachers at Perry Beeches The Academy Trust, and its Accounting Officer and Chief Executive.

A letter published yesterday stated:

there have been serious breaches of the Academies Financial Handbook including serious concerns about financial management, control and governance.

This letter and its annex consequently serve as a written notice to improve financial management and governance at the Trust.

The investigation also found, according to Schools Week:

– The trust had spent nearly £1.3m with Nexus over two years, “without a written contract or formal procurement”.

– Payments were not detailed in the trust’s 2013/14 financial statements.

– The trust’s chair of governors had “joint business interests” with a director of Nexus – which were not disclosed in a register of interests.

– The trust’s 2013/14 financial statements did not disclose the Nexus payments.

And yet, the Trust is due to open another free school next year.

Perry Beeches The Academy Trust had earlier been praised by Education Secretary Nicky Morgan and David Cameron as model schools.

But it turned out that regulations from the Academies Financial Handbook, Charity Commission and academies accounting rules, and trustee guidelines had been broken. But the issue only came to light after a whistleblower made claims that Nolan had been receiving a second salary.

Tell us again Prime Minister how turning all schools to Academies will improve accountability?

  1. Pigs, snouts, trough, greed, fraud, backhanders, fiddles, topslicing, expences, corruption. Need I go on !! #nuffsaidfred

  2. This is fraud and corruption of the most obvious kind. It must go to court, and those involved must know that they are not above the law!!

  3. Interesting reading regarding this chap when you search online about other events he has been involved with.

  4. Take all those involved to court,no backsliding,keep the public informed,prosecute to the fullest extent of the law.
    I notice Cameron has sidled off again

  5. And i would imagine if academies were the norm such fraud and corruption would also be the norm.
    What will happen to disabled children, disruptive children, slow learners who need extra help.. will they be “removed” and sent elsewhere as they maybe lowering academic standards . This along with other devious practices could be an excuse to remove pupils to keep the school up in the league tables.

  6. I have had 17 years as a teacher in Adult and Community Learning in a London Council and have lost count of the corruption I have encountered when services are outsourced, except one company, the rest all put profit and greed above all else.

  7. I have concerns about cherry picking the best pupils and others being left behind! Very worrying that the are not scrutinised enough!

  8. This isn’t the first time Nolan has been up to no good. A few years ago there was a scandal about making teachers redundant, paying them redundancy pay and then rehiring them straight away. His little chum Gove neatly swept it all under the carpet for him.

  9. P155£d 0££ Governor says:

    About time we had a debate about how ready these heads are for such responsibilities. What training did Liam get to run up to 8 schools ranging from academies to free schools? How well chosen were the governors and how well trained were they? What scrutiny was there over the finances if they couldn’t see a million quid go missing?

    What gave him the right to think that he was worth that much money? Clearly he had spent far too much time sucking up to and in turn being plauded by politicians at all the right parties based on little or no knowledge of what was going on and how he was building such a large empire.

  10. Peter Dewhurst says:

    with no real scrutiny how long before another child abuse scandal. The problem highlighted time and again in the reports into churches ,children’s homes, and other institutions. I DISPAIR

  11. He’s been in many a scandal. He’s also a publicity maestro. Not that he would have wanted the publicity on this one!!

  12. Get them into court,prosecute to nth degree. To the full power of the law. This state of affairs must not be allowed to slide into oblivion, it must fully publicised and dealt with strongly. To the full power of the law.

  13. What do you expect when ideology out strips common sense,after all the people in charge applaud entrepreneurship which lines the pocket however it is done,our money is theirs to do as they wish with. Of course they should be charged,but will they?

  14. Underachievers moved on , results manipulated . Parents , students ,and teachers betrayed. It’s happening across the country and I suspect swept under the carpet to protect the policy and the guilty.

  15. I remember a question being raised over some ‘academy’ literature to do with innovating teachers. This scandal is very innovative! Comparisons could be made to how the conservatives are running this country! The rich getting richer etc. Classic abuse of power.

  16. This is happening all over the country. Working as a teacher in a secondary school, in an area that’s in the top 3% for deprivation, that is on its second round of redundancies, and having being told that the new ceo will come into school in May & tell our kids ‘either behave & pull your socks up or you’re out’ leaves me with a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. Kids are just numbers on spreadsheets & if they can’t perform to push us up the league table they’ll have to go, but go where? We take/took the kids the other schools in our area didn’t want, so now where do they go? Academies only want kids that won’t cause them problems or need additional help or funding to get them to their ‘targets’. These are children, not commodities to be traded!
    Oh & the old ceo is head at one of the academy chains & has just had another £1,000,000 on new computers because the ones She has are 3 years old. Ours are way older, at least 8 years, & we have to have her cast offs!

  17. Surinder Buray says:

    The board of Directors should be disbanded as they would have sanctioned this corruption.
    Nolan should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law!
    If nothing is done, it is sending a message out to others Academies that it’s OK and if you are caught with your fingers in the till, it will be a slap on the wrist.
    This is a clear breach of trust for which others such as MI’s have been imprisoned!

  18. The problem of a regularly failing sink school and how to improve it – make it one of the first ever academies. At the end of the FIRST TERM the Education Welfare Officer was given 26 names of unlikely 5 A-Cs and told “get rid of them”.

  19. As I understand it academies are subject to the Companies Act if there is evidence of fraud they should be reported to police & investigated. May have some redress against the Auditors, should have been spotted….

  20. the head i worked under gave himself a 40% wage rise once then sent us a letter with our 2% living wage rise telling us that obviously the university will have to make cutbacks for our 2% wage rise there all corrupt how do you justify getting paid more than a prime minister for running a small university

  21. Thomas Tidswell says:

    Government, both Central and Local, has no money of its own – only the tax-payers.
    Thus these payments have been sanctioned at the highest level. I take it we will see prosecutions for this bribery and corruption….soon!

  22. Another academy having restructured and made redundancies a year ago has discovered an ‘unforseen’ hole in its budget and is proposing to downgrade all responsibility posts causing up to £2,000 pay cut for teachers affected. They are also cutting the non teaching time they have to carry out the responsibilities. Same work, less time, less pay. How can you be positive about that, Nicky Morgan?

  23. Absolutely appalled by this blatant abuse and exploitation. Clearly costs to this country are not reduced. Education services FOR ALL are not improved. As always the pockets of the few are bursting at the seams and If have been breached there should be no excuses and no ‘light touch’ approach or ‘bond eye’ to protect those in power. The worm should be turning.

  24. Mike Snowden says:

    Academies cost more, and there is no evidence that long term, applied to all schools, they will improve standards. They work now by attracting the best teachers; put that across all schools and it will just create a price war.
    I also don’t believe that a lack of oversight is beneficial to a teaching within a national curriculum, or good financial management.

  25. The same thing is happening in the United States. The republicans are gutting public education in favor of private schools and finding that the private schools are doing a worse job than public schools. But that’s the republican answer to everything, gut it, privatize it, make it for profit. But republicanism in the United States, as the entire world can see, is the biggest joke in the world.

  26. Maureen Hulbert says:

    Does everyone in charge of government funding have their hand in the till? It sure seems like all these big wigs are out to make a fast buck to the detriment of others. What happened to an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay? People like this should face the full force of our laws and be jailed for theft

  27. The same head left work (feeling ill), during the day, to go and suck c@ck in the park (which he was found guilty of, in court), while the tax payer paid him to do it!

  28. I thank goodness on a daily basis that I left my headship…so so sad…a job that I absolutely loved for 22 years now such a demoralising place to be…and I read articles like this and wonder what will become of our education system and our poor children.

  29. What happens to the LAND that an academy stands upon? According to one of the papers, a peppercorn rent is paid for a number of years – then that land becomes the legal property of the Trust.
    Have I understood this correctly?
    If it is a fact that this is happening, how can it be possible or ethical? A good question for my MP.

  30. It amazes me that the British public keep voting for a conservative government, somehow expecting them to have acquired integrity and moral fibre. Get real – it is their objective always to reward greed and punish vulnerability.

  31. This guy has/ had a massive monopoly on 5 academy campuses. And was caught with his pants down and bits hanging out, in a local park. And still allowed to run these academies into the ground!!!! Go figure!!!!

  32. A corrupt individual, shameless and broken the law by sexually exlicited actions in the bushes on his Academy grounds, now an owner of monoply, ignoring the fact that as well as denying his own students to further access facilities- he has also pulled wool over Government’s eyes; denying the more needy Academies to access funding who are honest, transparent and not egocentric like Nolan. How can government even begin to publicise his successes? He has misused privilege, cheated, a showman who blows his own trumpt, covered his sins by inviting, involving famous people in his Academies, and Government is too ashamed to take action against him.

    Sack him and then see how his chain of Academies will survive!!! He has fiddled the money from school fundings, he is the biggest crook and not fit to be around children. Does Government officials know about Safeguarding our children? Take off blind folders, fire Michel Gove and others who supported this man. Get Rid off him.

  33. People vote for a conservative government in a capitalist-focused society and then expect no corruption!!!? This is the real world!! The media and everyone else rubbishes anyone who suggests an alternative system (Corbyn, for example) and then bleat about politicians, civil servants, chief executives, etc.
    There is no hope whilst people don’t protest more directly.
    And for the record, I am not a labour voter, communist, anarchist or any other name that the people in power like to sling at anyone who sees them for what they are.

  34. Perry Beeches Mom says:

    on Thursday evening they, Perry Beeches – signed Mr Nolan, sent a letter home saying they were cancelling the year 9 trip to France due to financial difficulties!

  35. Alan – if an academy was previously a local authority community school then the land on which the academies stands is leased from the LA on a peppercorn rent for 125 years. No idea what happens then – a lot can happen in over a century. If the academy was previously a foundation school, then it’s likely the foundation already owned the land. If it was a church school, the church owns the land of some of them but not others. The Department for Education recently had to admit it didn’t know who owns the land on which many academies stand and it would cost £20m-£40m to find out so they’re not bothering. http://schoolsweek.co.uk/dfe-needs-to-spend-20m-to-resolve-academy-land-confusion/
    Free schools are different – trusts can ‘buy’ the freehold via a ‘charge’ from the DfE. Perry Beeches has several charges (see Companies House info).

  36. Well said Rachel! His schools are said to be run like cults. Does he run his own teacher training programme too? Something like that. Ie he hires unqualified teachers on the cheap too?

  37. Rocket the raccoon says:

    Outsource PE to local leisure centres… Sell the land to your property developer mates… Put the naughty kids into a special off the grid school and hey-presto! League table success and millions made! Result.

  38. Irresponsible, Unbelievable, Unacceptable! This must not be allowed!
    Greed, corruption, discrimination, emotional, mental and physical abuse of our children/young people!
    No future for our amazing, inspiring, empathetic, hard working teachers! Certainly no incentive to become a teacher! I would be interested to know how many of these M.P’s children attend their local Academy????

  39. Education has been sold to the the highest bidder… Once you move in to the corporate world, our students don’t stand a chance. I even dispute the quality of qualifications our students receive. I don’t trust anything within education anymore. I’ve been teaching 16 years and have seen first hand the scandals that some of these academies are getting away with. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer, the gap widens even further. The system changed when league tables started… I agree schools need to be held to account for performances, not forced to academise because a cohort has underperformed. What help are unions if they are not there to support the profession. Where is the Government, cleaning up the mess they have created. Our education is flawed on so many levels, corruption is now common practice and will increase, backhanders, top slicing need I go on. Politics does not belong in education… Our children deserve a fair education regardless of background & wealth

  40. How low will the government allow our education system to sink?

    The people should be voting on whether we want academies or not.

    And as a matter of interest which schools are the members of government making these decisions sending their children to? A large proportion will be going to select schools where children get time and attention to their individual needs not all thrown into the mass progect where children, teachers and educational staff are lost in the quagmire of supposedly saving a bit of money.

  41. Apparently everyone in work! So much so these families on basic wage and zero hours contracts ( yes they still exist) can barely feed and put basic clothes on their children . How do you learn on an even playing field when pencils unaffordable let alone books or even computers . If a teacher, nurse, doctor commit ‘wrong” or car traffic violation . Suspension , dragged thro internal courts , not allowed to work as seen as a punishment .
    Yet you can “steal millions” operate corruptly, with full govt approval .
    There are shortages in all these professions . My own children have emigrated to countries where being a teacher nurse doctor are appreciated . The govt stats ( lies damn lies and stats ) says recruited more . How many of our local talent has left . Appalling !

  42. The chances of all academies having their accounts scrutinised annually by a , `third party` are slight. I see fraud and even more jobs for the boys being the sum total of these academies. The education of the children is at the bottom of their lists of priorities. Nobody will be there to fight for the rights and the education of the children.It is the worst of times for our children..and we must NOT allow it to happen. Sign the petitions and shout as loud as you can.Do NOT go gently into the abyss!

  43. Expat at 0910 pm
    The British electorate does NOT keep voting for Tory government, the ENGLISH electorate does, then resents this in Scotland who want to leave. If you lot really were subsidising Scotland – which you are not- why do you think so many of us here want out of the U.K.?
    The right wing southeast Little Englanders will believe anything their Eton boy masters tell them, to their own detriment.
    Scotland has one Tory MP.
    Right wingers own the newspapers. Start thinking for yourselves, or everything will be privatised and given to the Tory boys’ friends.

  44. If you make all schools into financial businesses run outside local government you remove the need for county councils so saving the rate payers money. U might say well done Tories but you might also note the lack of money collected by the council from developers for new schools or the chance that your child will be refused entrance to the school without any right of appeal or that you have to pay for basics as well as extras or that we are reverting to Victorian times when the lower performers were kept as low performers and were used as cannon fodder by the educated few. What the tories are doing is disgraceful. Its not about education,its about creating two classes in society, closing down county councils and introducing paid mayors in true blue districts.You will be told that there is a safety net for the disadvantaged but most of you will be outside the net. Still think academies are a good idea. I dont

  45. My child was at one of the schools in this academy trust and was indirectly forced out because of her, very small, needs. She never net with the schools ideals. Nicky Morgan wasn’t interested either.
    This academy trust needs investigating furthur and not just for financial irregularities.

  46. Shame shame shame, academies r just glorified businesses, and these poor children r being caught up in this money spinning scandal, l cant help feel for the children they need stability and a good education, get rid of this shameful ceo and his family members within the schools and lets give these children the highest education they deserve without being caught up in this disgraceful curruption.

  47. I have just been made redundant from an academy school, the several thousands of pounds given to pay support staff somehow disappeared. The highly paid head and his cronies just get away with it and it is forgotten. What about the children who need support and staff who need to work?

  48. Angela Hodgson says:

    This government are purely concerned with lining their own pockets and privatising everything. Stepping back from that is impossible. Teaching staff won’t be fully qualified and salaries will decline. Educational standards won’t be clear or managed correctly. Funding will drop. Stress on teachers will increase.
    They have no concern for the ordinary person as the rich will be going to public schools anyway. Their financial scandals in terms of their own expenses academies and now dropping animal rights and human rights laws will set us as a nation way back.

  49. It is clear that many Academy Trusts are well run, efficient and honest. It is also clear that a great number allow the freedoms for the few to profit at the expense of the many. Local authorities have a history of oversight which has been efficient and not allowed this to happen as freely previously.
    It’s a political move to Academise schools not an educational one.

  50. Bradley Atkins says:

    Let”s not forget that all academies must also surrender the school deeds to the government’s friends off shore, so we can then pay commercial rent for our schools…. Someone asked what will happen to teachers wages? Where do we think those tax free profits will come from?

  51. Absolute bull crap!!! Mr Nolan has transformed education in Birmingham. Of course he deserves paying a high salary reading this article he has done nothing wrong. You ask any of the 1000+ pupils who attend perry beeches and they will tell you Mr Nolan is an inspiration who gives young adults belief and hope. Ignore the haters Mr Nolan you are doing a fantastic job x

  52. Those benefitting with good test results from a corrupt academy school would be inclined to back the system, while the poorly educated
    will know no better than to vote conservative: it’s a win win!

  53. Neil Phillips says:

    If you look up Liam Nolan Ltd at Companies House you see that the latest accounts to 29th February 2016 show that there was £126K in the bank and that the company is now being liquidated as a solvent liquidation. I did not realise that teachers provided their services through a limited company and I hope that HMRC will satisfy themselves that the correct amount of tax is being paid in these circumstances.

  54. This is happening in Further Education. Colleges are being forced to downsize and staff are having to take pay cuts or cuts in their contracted hours. Large colleges seem to be the preferred route for the future and so this inevitably means that smaller colleges will make excellent staff redundant and then offer a very limited selection of courses. Those colleges in the disadvantaged areas will have less/no academic options for their students, which means that for those students the academy system has failed there is little hope of taking academc subjects at colleges of Further Education. How can colleges and academies write off students in these disadvantaged areas before they get a chance to show their worth?

  55. put the foxes in charge of the chicken runs. great idea.the miracle that these tory bastards have pulled off is ,by appealing to greed, to persuade the public that their own interest is being served.

  56. Sour grapes? says:

    Last year the department I workrd in had to loose 1.4 teachers [out of 4]; the ceo of the chain took a 40% pay rise. Staff there had their class sizes increased,, their free time cut and the amount of cover needed increased. I do wonder why the ceo needed to be paid twice what the chief education officer for the county gets, I see now, the money had to go somewhere.

  57. Changing schools to academies without consultation is the same as the ideology driven change to Comprehensives. It is amusing to read the left wing hysteria above.

  58. Odd situation this. I seem to recall that academies were an invention of the labour government’ announced by David Blunkett and enacted by the Blair government in 2000. Strange also that Liam Nolan is a staunch and vociferous Labour supporter. Even stranger, it seems that the Government is about to strip this academy of all its schools, a very strange way to cover the whole affair up.

    Check Wikipedia for the facts and todays Guardian article for a less biased version of the story…….and check your facts before you jump to conclusions and spread inaccurate propaganda.

  59. Another generation of children whose education will suffer because of central government idealology. This government said it wanted to give parents more choice and control. But Academies give no more choice and the government is removing the role of parent governors. In one Academy chain they are even removing the governors role of challenge in their schools. And CW’s comments about Wikipedia? Well, it’s far more accurate than the mis-information this government has published on Academies and Free Schools, unless CW thinks what Ofsted and the Audit Commission has said about such schools is also properganda?

  60. Didn’t say I am in favour of the Academy route, I’m not. However, I am in favour of accurate, un-biased reporting and against the hysterical, ill-informed anti-establishment drivel in many of the above comments.

  61. i would like to see all these greedy money grabbing bastards prosecuted and pet behind bars to serve a propper sentence and any members condoning such practices should be evicted from office . no old pals act ,,,,.!

  62. Nolan has friends in the right places as a result of which he gets away with whatever he does. Had the misfortune of working for him for a short while and decided to walk because there was no integrity or morals in his way of working. The school and the systems is farce and his staff live in fear with morale on the ground because that’s what gives him his power.

  63. Meanwhile, speaking as a former head, many LA schools are being underfunded and are being expected to perform better and raise standards in extremely challenging financial circumstances. Funds directed to individual salaries at the expense of young learners within the system is a genuine scandal; just one element of the political dogma incorporated within the academisation philosophy.

  64. Education was never established to make money & run as a business. The money allocated to schools should pay for equipment eg to enable science experiments so that learning isn’t all teacher talking at the pupils but allowing all types of learning. What happened to being able to deliver lessons to include learners needs i.e. Visual, kinaesthetic etc. Now there’s no time as league tables dictate C & above grades, gained however possible

  65. And what of the teachers who are bullied out of jobs; the would be whistleblowers; the union reps victimised?

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