School refuse to release report

MCHG 9.11.16 PIXIES HILL SCHOOL, Hemel Hempstead

MCHG 9.11.16 PIXIES HILL SCHOOL, Hemel Hempstead

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A headteacher continues to insist that there are “no financial irregularities” at his school – but will not release the report of a recent investigation by County Hall.

Martin Smith, head at Pixies Hill Primary School in Hazeldell Road, issued the statement after council bosses ruled that they too would not release the report.

Mr Smith described the press interest as “malicious”.

In an emailed statement he said: “It is obviously disappointing that unsubstantiated stories about the school’s finances still persist.

“There were no financial irregularities contained within our finance audit of December 2015 and more recently the education authority has confirmed that the school is graded with ‘Substantive Assurance’ over the way in which it handles finance. This is the second highest grading of the five possible ratings available.

“The school is in a healthy financial position this year and we are on course to bring forward a positive surplus. Our financial statement is published on our website for anyone to see.

“We will not allow these malicious stories to distract us from this.”

The Gazette first reported on issues at Pixies Hill in November after learning that Hertfordshire County Council was looking into claims of financial irregularities.

The school’s financial statement, which is referred to in Mr Martin’s statement, is 17-words long, stating only the school’s income, expenditure, surplus for the year, and reserves.

Last Thursday reporters spoke to parents outside the school gates, who offered mixed opinions.

One said: “I don’t know how it affects the overall education of my children but I think it would be good for transparency if they simply let us see this report.”

Another added: “I’ve been told by the staff that they’re sorry that there are journalists here.

“I’m more concerned by the school being open with us.”

But a third parent disagreed and said they trusted the school’s judgement.

She said: “As long as my children or the teachers aren’t suffering then I’m not worried to be honest.

“My children enjoy coming here.

“I don’t see any reason why I should know about any report. The school have always been honest with us in the past.”