THE failure of a school’s chair of governors to turn up to a meeting to address a series of “significant concerns” has been slammed by a council committee.

Caerleon Comprehensive School’s chair of governors Kathryn Bevis was asked to attend Newport City Council’s audit committee on Thursday, October 17, to address a number of concerns identified by auditors earlier this year - including a £1.6 million financial deficit and reports of staff working without the proper safeguarding checks.

However, the committee was told Mrs Bevis wouldn’t be turning up, forcing them to postpone the agenda item for a second time until the next meeting in November.


Committee chairman John Baker said that if either Mrs Bevis or the school's head teacher Lana Picton failed to turn up to the next meeting the committee would proceed without them.

He said: “I want to express my disappointment that the chair of governors can’t make it this evening without due notice.

“I don’t think it’s acceptable, but I appreciate events can’t be changed.”

Mrs Bevis and Ms Picton were previously due to meet with the committee in September - but that meeting was postponed due to the start of the academic year.

Councillors have been calling for a meeting after auditors identified 28 separate issues at the school – including a £1.6 million deficit - in March.

It was also found some new staff members were not always subject to DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) checks, while employees accrued lieu time and sick leave without evidence of authorisation.

The committee is still waiting for the final audit report and questions were raised over what the school had been doing in the meantime to address the issues.

The committee heard that the council was in talks with the schools finance team.

Cllr David Williams asked for a written response to the questions raised so the committee could decide for themselves whether the issues had been addressed.

Newport City Council were approached for an explanation on the matter, but only confirmed both parties will be expected to attend the next audit committee meeting.