Sally Bercow, the wife of Commons Speaker John Bercow, sits on the board of governors at Holland Park School in west London. Unearthed spending records from the popular school – once dubbed the “socialist Eton” – reveal how Holland Park has spent thousands of pounds on lavish designer candles, luxury paint and bespoke interior furnishings. Records show the school has spent around £15,000 on Farrow & Ball paint over a three-year period.
An investigation by trade publication Schools Week showed the school spend £6,000 on luxury Jo Malone scented candles.
A further £80,000 was spent on carpets and re-covering furniture from an independent design store.
The school insisted that the spending choices made were “justified in the interests of students and staff”.
A spokeswoman for the school said Farrow and Ball paint had been chosen “because it is of high quality, hard-wearing and safe for children and the environment”.
The Speaker’s wife signed off on £100,000 of cosmetic improvements at Holland Park school
The Speaker announced he would resign from the post on October 31 at the latest
The data obtained for the report also showed the board had spent £2,222 in 2016-17, and £2,767 in 2017-18 on Jo Malone designer candles.
The spokeswoman added: “The ability to generate income and donations depends in part on the impression made by the school to visitors – creating a positive atmosphere in the reception area is important in this respect.”
The spending followed the school completing an £80million refurbishment in 2012.
Following the spending, an investigation was launched by the Department for Education (DoE).
READ MORE: John Bercow net worth: The staggering fortune Remainer speaker accrued
Mrs Bercow is on the board of governor’s at the Holland Park school in west London
Academies minister Lord Agnew said: “Members of the public will rightly ask how some of the spend highlighted here benefits pupils.
“We will be looking into this matter further to ensure that all spending is within the framework of the academies financial handbook.”
But the DoE deemed the school was not in breach of any code of conduct.
A spokesman said it had “looked into the finances of Holland Park and no breaches of the Academies Financial Handbook were found.
If Boris agrees a Brexit pact I will crush Corbyn’s Labour Remainers [COMMENT]
Bercow humiliated as readers rage he should have gone years ago – poll [POLL]
How John Bercow spent £31k of taxpayers’ cash on apartment renovation [ANALYSIS]
The DfE said Holland Park had not misspent funds
Mr Bercow leaves the role of Speaker after 10 years in the chair
“We continue to challenge trusts that are not complying to justify high salaries.”
The department also asked the school to twice justify the salary of its headteacher, Colin Hall, who receives £260,000 per year.
Annual accounts published in Schools Week showed his salary had doubled in seven years.
Mr Hall received a pay rise of around £10,000 in the last year.
According to the accounts, Mr Hall’s pay rose from between £245,000 to £250,000 in 2017 to between £260,000 to £265,000 last year.
A timeline of what happens following the suspension of Parliament
The figures showed a rise of at least £10,000.
On Tuesday, Commons Speaker John Bercow announced he would stand down from his position.
Mr Bercow has held the role of Speaker since 2009.
During an emotional and teary announcement – which lasted around 90 minutes as tributes from Remainers poured in – Mr Bercow said he would be standing down on October 31.
Mr Bercow said: “Colleagues, I would like to make a personal statement to the house. At the 2017 election I promised my wife and children that it would be my last. This is a pledge that I intend to keep.
Mr Bercow made a tearful resignation speech in the Commons shortly before progoration began
“If the house votes tonight for an early general election, my tenure as Speaker and MP will end when this parliament ends.”
He said: “I could not do so without the support of a small but superb team in Speaker’s House, the wider house staff, my Buckingham constituents, and above all my wife, Sally, and our three children, Oliver, Freddy and Jemima.
“From the bottom of my heart, I thank them all profusely.”
His departure will come on the same day as the current Brexit deadline, when the UK is due to leave the European Union.