An investigation revealing concerns over a headteacher’s spending at an unnamed school will be kept secret, Bracknell Forest Council has confirmed.

Auditors last year found several ‘critical’ and ‘major’ areas of concern at the school, including ‘purchasing card expenditure including expenditure relating to the previous headteacher'.

But the council has refused to publish the investigation, telling the News that even releasing a redacted version would mean breaking its duty to keep audit information confidential.

A council information officer told the News they 'recognise that there is a public interest in the transparency with which schools utilise public funds.' But they said the council was right not to release the report.

READ MORE: Concern about headteacher’s spending at Bracknell school

The concerns were reported as part of an update to councillors on Bracknell Forest Council’s governance and audit committee in January this year. But the report itself was not published.

Councillors were told auditors made two ‘critical recommendations’ regarding ‘the purchasing process and the school’s private fund'.

Eight ‘major’ recommendations included ‘purchase card expenditure including expenditure relating to the previous headteacher'.

Others listed included ‘declarations of business interests’, ‘budget setting and monitoring’ and ‘income received in cash and banking'.

The News asked Bracknell Forest Council for a copy of the audit under freedom of information laws. But the council said it would not do this as financial information given to auditors is confidential, making it exempt under those laws.

After the News asked the council to consider releasing a redacted version, the council said that even this could risk identifying the school.

The council said this would make it harder for it to carry out audits in the future as schools might be more wary of providing full information. It argued this meant it would be more in the public interest to keep the report confidential than to publish it.

An information officer said: “If the council were to adopt a position where any audit report could be disclosed if the subject of the report were removed, it is possible that many more requests and disclosures would have to be made.”

The officer said that releasing the report ‘when taken together with other publicly known information could identify the school'.

It said identifying information could include: “The type of school it is, its use of land for income generation from external sources, the dates of arrival and departure of key staff, and charitable works that it had publicised.”