Backing for cash row head

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A SCARBOROUGH school has defended its former trouble-shooting education leader amid fresh claims of an “excessive” rewards culture.

Bosses at Scalby School have backed Outwood Grange Academy chief Michael Wilkins after an investigation found thousands of pounds was spent on alcohol, hotels and trips on the Orient Express at a school he oversaw.

The findings, from an audit into Outwood Grange, in Wakefield, also revealed the school had kept thousands of pounds raised for charity and at one point paid more than £6,000 of the donations into its own account.

However, Scalby School headteacher David Read said Mr Wilkins’ tenure at the school – which ended in August 2010 after his contract expired – had brought new vigour and success.

Mr Read said: “During the time when Mr Wilkins Scalby School experienced a dramatic turnaround.

“The school achieved record breaking results in both 2009 and 2010, doubling the number of students achieving five GCSEs or equivalent including English and Mathematics in comparison to 2008.

“These impressive results led to national recognition as one of the most improved schools in the country for two years running and the school also came out of special measures in April 2010 and was one of only three schools to achieve a good rating in doing so.”

Mr Wilkins was employed by North Yorkshire County Council at a cost of £533,619 to build a foundation of specialist support and resurrect Scalby School in 2008.

He has also worked at schools in Harrogate, Doncaster and two in Stockton-on-Tees.