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Staff were underpaid at Westbourne Academy in Ipswich for two months, Academy Transformation Trust admits

PUBLISHED: 07:45 07 June 2017

Westbourne Academy in Marlow Road, Ipswich. Picture: ARCHANT

Westbourne Academy in Marlow Road, Ipswich. Picture: ARCHANT

Sarah Lucy brown

An academy trust has apologised after administration errors left a number of staff members underpaid at Westbourne Academy for two months.

Pension contributions are also not showing online for some teachers, an issue dating back to April 2015.

The Academy Transformation Trust (ATT), which has run the school since 2013, blamed system issues with their providers.

It said all staff members who have been underpaid since April have now been fully paid and said it was investigating the pension contribution issue.

But one staff member has said morale at the school is low.

The Birmingham-based trust, which runs 22 schools in Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex and the Midlands, has hit back at claims over its finances over the past year. The Education Funding Agency launched an investigation into the ATT amid financial concerns last November.

The report highlighted the trust’s own forecasts, which showed the chain would have reserves of just £26,000 by September 2018.

Last night, the ATT said several members of support staff had not been paid in full for two months after it changed its payroll provider in April.

A statement added: “All of these issues were rectified promptly and all staff have been paid. ATT offer our apologies to any member of staff impacted or inconvenienced by this error, and we are working closely with our new provider to eradicate any future errors.”

Emergency payments were also made available.

The statement added: “ATT are aware that the online pension records of some staff appear to be incorrect. All of the money covering employee and employer contributions has been paid to teachers’ pension on a monthly basis as legally required.

“Some employee records are displayed as being up-to-date only until 31 August 2015, however we can assure staff that returns have been submitted and that they will see up-to-date records soon.”

It is understood around 35 staff members have been affected by both issues.

Ian Cleland, the £180,000-a-year chief executive of the trust, faced criticism last year for claiming for the lease of a luxury Jaguar and dinners at top restaurant on expenses. At the time, ATT said the restaurant expenses were related to events for staff and the vehicle lease was part of his remuneration.

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