Calls for probe in to prom cash

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Montrose Councillor Mark Salmond called for an independent investigation into how a secondary school handled pupils prom money in a bizarre row dubbed “Carpetgate”.

Sixth year pupils at Montrose Academy recently led a protest outside the school over claims that £180 raised from prom ticket sales is being kept by the school.

Although the prom was organised by the pupils independently of the school, office staff banked the proceeds of the £17-a-head ticket sales for the event which is to be held at the West Park event venue in Dundee on June 10.

Problems emerged around two weeks ago when the school suddenly announced that it was withdrawing a pledge of £250 towards the cost of the prom due to alleged damage to a common room carpet.

Faced with having to raise the shortfall just a few days before the final payment to the West Park was due, the prom committee decided to forego a planned photo booth attraction -- which would have allowed pupils to pose and be professionally snapped at the dance in their finery.

It then emerged that this left a £180 balance of ticket sale money in the Senior School Benefit Fund account.

It has been claimed by pupils that the prom committee, who had suggested the money go to charity, were then persuaded by the school Rector to give it as a gesture of goodwill to go further towards the carpet repairs.

Around 30 protested outside the school on Friday holding a length of carpet which had the words: “Here’s your carpet, where’s our money?” written on it.

Now Councillor Mark Salmond has asked Angus Council’s education department and its internal audit service manager to conduct investigations into the affair, which he has dubbed Carpetgate.

Mr Salmond said he had received calls from several parents about how the school had acted which has led to him calling for an independent inquiry.

He said: “I have contacted the strategic director with responsibilities for education and asked that the pupils’ concerns be investigated by staff external to Montrose Academy.

“I have asked that the school staff and pupils concerned be allowed to explain how this issue arose. It is imperative that parents and pupils know the full facts.

“As the pupils are raising financial issues I have also asked Angus Council’s internal audit service manager to review how the school account concerned is operated.”

A spokesman for Angus Council said: “We have received the councillor’s correspondence and will respond directly to any concerns he has raised.”