A former ‘inspirational’ head teacher, who fell from grace after admitting that he paid himself two salaries, has been banned from the profession.
Liam Nolan, former executive head teacher, CEO and accounting officer at Perry Beeches The Academy Trust in Birmingham, was found guilty of professional misconduct by the Teaching Regulation Authority (TRA)
Nolan had been responsible for turning around the fortunes of the once failing Perry Beeches Academy to become the most improved secondary school in the country and went on to create four further academies, earning him praise from the then Prime Minister David Cameron and former Education Secretary, Michael Gove.
However, following an investigation into the academy trust’s finances, it was discovered that he had been paying himself two salaries. More than £1 million was channelled via a private company, Nexus Schools Ltd, which paid his head teacher’s salary of £120,000.
It was also discovered that Nexus paid him a further £160,000 for his services via another company, ‘Liam Nolan Ltd’ owned solely by him.
Following the financial irregularities, Perry Beeches The Academy Trust was placed in special measures and all five schools were subsequently re-brokered.
Sarah Lewis, who handed down Nolan’s teaching ban on behalf of Education Secretary, Damian Hinds, said it was felt necessary to impose a prohibition order in order to “maintain public confidence in the profession”.
The TRA panel found that Nolan had a “cavalier attitude to his role as accounting officer” and following the hearing his defence lawyer said: “He was a fantastic, inspirational head teacher but an absolutely rubbish finance officer.”
Liam Nolan has been prohibited from teaching indefinitely but has been given leave to apply for the ban to be set aside from 30 October 2020.
Carla Jones, an Associate with Palmers, who specialises in financial management and debt advice issues for the education sector, said: “Where financial irregularities become an issue, it is crucial to get advice at an early stage in order to put in place measures which will help to secure the recovery of the educational establishment’s reputation and restore good governance.
“Seeking advice from a legal professional who has experience of financial compliance and governance issues relating to the education sector is particularly important.”
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