The chief executive of an academy trust in charge of four Northampton schools is also the director of a consultancy firm that since 2015 has received almost £1.5million from the trust.
Janet Marshall is the founder and chief executive of the EMLC Academies Trust, based in Buckinghamshire, which is responsible for Castle Academy, Hardingstone Academy, Stimpson Avenue Academy and Northampton International Academy.
But she is also the director and a shareholder of Third Wave Enterprises Ltd, which handles all of those school's improvement contracts.
Since its appointment in 2015, Third Wave has made over £1.44 million in sales from EMLC. In 2016/17, Third Wave's directors were paid £72,872 by EMLC.
And Mrs Marshall, as a third Wave shareholder currently holding 28 per cent of the shares, was given a dividend on top of her remuneration. How much she received is not stated in Third Wave's accounts but directors of the company together received dividends of more than £57,000. EMLC itself is also a shareholder of Third Wave.
EMLC Academies Trust itself is registered as a charity but is funded directly from the Government.Third Wave Enterprises was commissioned by EMLC after a "competitive tender" in 2015.
In the year following Third Wave's appointment, the company's sales leapt from £93,000 to £400,000.
A spokeswoman for EMLC said that, due to the director's conflict of interest, Mrs Marshall was "not involved" in the process of awarding the Third Wave contract and any meetings took place "behind locked doors".
Her husband, Keith Marshall, is on the academy trust's board but it is not clear whether he attended meetings about Third Wave's contract. Others who have been directors of both Third Wave and EMLC include George Gyte and Mrs Marshall's daughter, Kerry Batten. Mrs Marshall's daughter-in-law, Kelly Marshall, also works for Third Wave. The family relationships are all declared in EMLC's Trustee Register of Interests on its website.
When approached for comment, Mrs Marshall replied: "The Trust appointed Third Wave Enterprises in 2015 following a competitive tender to provide support with school improvement on a non-profit basis and has been instrumental in securing improved outcomes for pupils across all the Trust schools.
"The Trust has a policy of being open and transparent in all of its dealings. Matters involving connected parties are disclosed in the Trust’s Annual Accounts and on our website."
Stimpson Avenue Academy was rated "requires improvement" in its latest 2017 Ofsted report. Castle Academy and Hardingstone Academy were both rated good.