Head said Orient Express trip was not excessive

24th June 2011 at 01:00

A secondary headteacher who gave rewards to his teachers, including a trip for two on the Orient Express, has claimed the "team-building and motivation payments" were given the official go-ahead.

Michael Wilkins, principal of Outwood Grange Academy in Wakefield, hit out at claims that he and his governing body acted "extravagantly" or "excessively" in rewarding staff.

He found himself at the centre of a media storm after a council investigation into the school's finances before it converted to an academy.

Concerns were first raised when the Yorkshire Post revealed Mr Wilkins had received pound;1 million of public money over four years in consultancy payments for his work to raise standards across nearly half a dozen schools in the area.

And, according to an audit carried out later by Wakefield Council, Outwood Grange spent pound;499 sending a teacher and her partner on a trip on the Orient Express.

The audit report questioned the motives behind the school spending pound;176 on 22 bottles of champagne to treat staff after good exam results.

But Mr Wilkins refuted any claim of "excessive rewards", adding that a great deal of local animosity towards the school stemmed from its decision to switch to academy status.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today