SFA college account data ‘appears incorrect’

College account figures have been removed from the Skill Funding Agency’s website little more than a week after they were published.

The figures, for 2010/11, were published on April 3 but by April 12 had been taken down. A message on the Agency’s website read: “This file has been temporarily removed to verify some of the figures. It will be replaced as soon as possible.”

The Agency, in a statement released to FE Week, said the data was provided by colleges, but one raised inaccuracies.

It read: “It was brought to our attention by a college that a small number of its figures appear to be incorrect on the collated spreadsheet; the spreadsheet has therefore been temporarily removed to verify these figures. As we know that sector rely on this data we wanted to reassure ourselves that the data is correct.”

Prior to the removal of the accounts on April 12, figures published for principals’ salaries in the same documents had also come under scrutiny from the sector.

FE Week used the spreadsheet to publish a list of the ten highest paid principals in 2010/11, but were contacted by a number of colleges to say figures were inaccurate.

A statement from Loughborough College said: “The salary for the principal of Loughborough College for 2010/11 reported as £242k in FE Week, 3rd April 2012, is incorrect.

“This figure (242k) represents the total salary for 2010/11 for the three senior postholders of the college.”

The salary published for the principal of Barnfield College was also said to be inaccurate.

“Pete Birkett is chief executive and principal of the Barnfield Federation, which is made up of more than Barnfield College alone,” a spokesperson said.

“The Federation consists of an existing four academies, three subsidiary companies, the College and five new academies who will be joining the Federation before September.”

The spokesperson added: “The turnover for the Federation is circa £60 million.

“There is a shared contribution towards the salary shown, so the figures quoted should be viewed from a Federal perspective.

“Within the accounts there is a qualifying statement explaining this.”

The correct salary for Mr Birkett is £193,000, with an additional £15,000 in benefits.