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School flew trustees to Ibiza official report finds as it investigates financial mismanagement

A primary school’s trustees flew to Ibiza for a board meeting, an official report has found as it investigates financial mismanagement.

Langdale Free School in Blackpool, which is owned by the education group Montague Place, had its finances probed by the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA), an executive agency of the Department for Education (DfE).

Montague Place paid for the school’s trustees to fly to Ibiza for a board meeting and failed to report this in their audited accounts, according to a report by the ESFA.

The school, which graded as “Good” by Ofsted at its most recent inspection, was investigated following allegations about poor financial management and the misuse of public funds.

Investigators found that the trustees had not been made aware of the school’s “deteriorating” financial position until after the end of the 2017-18 financial year.

The ESFA said that its findings “raise serious concerns over the long-term viability of the school”.

Their report concluded that the trust “needs to take urgent action to resolve the issues, including greater consideration given to the robustness of financial management arrangements by the board”.

Mar Peters, the chairman of the trustees said the report is “full of factual inaccuracies”.

He added: “The board is considering what to do next but we can’t have these lies. It’s a thorough misrepresentation of the facts and we will continue to take advice on what to do next.

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