The Dominic Barberi Multi Academy Company has £900k deficit

St Gregory The Great Catholic School Image copyright Google
Image caption The company is based at St Gregory The Great Catholic School in Cowley

An academy company that runs seven schools in Oxfordshire has been put into financial special measures after running up a deficit of £879,000.

The government has issued the The Dominic Barberi Multi Academy Company a financial notice to improve because of its "weak financial management".

The company is based at St Gregory The Great Catholic School in Cowley.

The government will now monitor all the company's financial transactions until the notice is lifted.

The company also runs St Thomas More in Kidlington, St John Fisher in Littlemore, Our Lady's in Cowley, St Joseph's in Thame, St Joseph's in Carterton, and Our Lady of Lourdes in Witney.

Its annual report puts the deficit down to "high expenditure that went unchecked against a background of weak financial controls and lack of transparency around the company's finances".

It continues: "The company's board has acted to strengthen controls and improve visibility of the company's trading and cash performance: in addition the board has imposed restrictions on expenditure."

Melinda Tilley, cabinet member for education at Oxfordshire County Council, called the situation "very worrying".

She added: "I'm worried about the other six schools that they also support.... I think they need a very good finance person on the school governing body.

"I know that probably we'll end up finding school places for all the children if they walk away, and certainly the transport for the schools... if it does go wrong."

The BBC has asked the Dominic Barberi Multi Academy for comment.

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