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Members of Milton Keynes Council will meet tonight to talk about the lessons learned following the closure of Sir Frank Markham School last summer.
The secondary school closed in July to move to a new building under the new name “MK Academy”.
However a report in published in September highlighted a number of concerns about the lacj of effective project management of the school closure and indentified some “unusual” expenditure that couldn’t be readily accounted for. For example the purchase and then subsequent disposal of a number of items of equipment. Councillors requested an investigation into the “unusual” items, which will be discussed at tonight’s meeting.
Some of this “unusual” spending included;
£2850 on takeaways/pizza/wine
The pizzas and takeaways were part of a programme to prepare students for exams. The school opened on Saturdays, between 9.00am – 1pm or 2pm, for a study club, which around 60 pupils attended. As there were no catering facilities available this food was brought in. Wine was brought as part of organised events, like the evening leaving event for the previous head teacher.
£1741 on a trip to Arsenal Football Club
On previous years this trip was paid for by parents. This was the first year that the trip was funded by the school. It was a reward for coursework being completed.
£144 snowboarding lesson
This was for one student in an attempt to “give them a new skill and enthuse them to learn, so as to make them more employable”.
£100 Cineworld tickets and Cineworld vouchers.
Rewards for students behaviour / achievement and attendance.
Meanwhile, Thames Valley Police have confirmed that they are investigating the alleged theft of 90 laptops from the school. A spokesperson told heart that they believe it happened between 4th September and 30th October 2009, and they were taken from a cabinet within the school.
In a statement to heart MK Council say;
“Sir Frank Markham School was the first secondary school in Milton Keynes to be closed. A number of complex issues arose during the process, and as a result we have learnt a number of valuable lessons which we are taking forward to ensure any new projects are dealt with effectively.
We have already developed and agreed measures that are being put in place. These include holding regular reviews of council and schools inventory records; promoting continuous improvement through “lessons learned” workshops; and developing a policy document setting out procedures for the closure of a school with contributions from interested parties from across the council.”