THE AWARD-winning headteacher of the Ockendon Academy has “opened the ledgers” of the school accounts to reveal that Thurrock Councils education bosses may have got their sums wrong.
At the full council meeting last night, portfolio holder, cllr Diana Hale stated that one of the reasons for taking back £1.2 million from the school was that the money was “sitting in a bank account not making any interest”.
But now headteacher, Barbara King has revealed that the money has infact accrued interest of £395,000!
It has provoked further questions as to the political and economic motivation for the council wanting to take the money back from the school praised as ‘Outstanding” by Ofsted in 2007.
Mrs King has also highlighted that the school had to wait for years for the completion of a capital project
Mrs King said: “The council knew well and good that we had saved up the money and were also aware of our surplus balance.
“We could not complete capital projects until the council’s own building programme at our school completed in March 2010. Two and a half years after the completion date.”
Ockendon Academy is unlike the other academies in the borough in that it doesn’t have a sponsor but is directly funded by the Dept for Education.
When Mrs King took over, the school was in special measures but in over ten years she has transformed the school on many levels. The school is now a six form entry and has many other plans including a teaching school. It has also acted as a mentor to the other primary schools around the area.
Mrs King said: “Becoming an academy is not goodbye. Our commitment is the community of Ockendon but we need to build and develop more space.