New board replaces trustee who took a payment to sell off charity property

17 Oct 2018 News

Three new independent trustees have been appointed to an education charity in place of a trustee who took a payment of tens of thousands of pounds to sell the school building.

The charity, Grangewood Educational Association, runs a Christian school and has been facing financial difficulties for a number of years. It almost closed earlier this year, prompting a dispute between the sole trustee and parents and teachers. 

Concerns about its management and governance led the Commission to open a statutory inquiry, freeze its bank accounts and appoint interim managers. 

Now it has recruited three new trustees and the interim managers have been discharged, because the Commission “considers that the protective measure is no longer required at Grangewood Educational Association after changes to its governance”.

The Commission will publish a full inquiry report “in due course”. 

Grangewood Independent Primary School announced earlier this year that it planned to close, prompting parents and teachers to launch a campaign.  

The charity entered a company voluntary arrangement in 2014 and sold its premises in 2015. Its most recent accounts, for the year ending 31 August 2016, show an income of £381,000 and spending of £625,000. School fees represented 90 per cent of the charity’s income.  

The school’s premises were sold and leased back on 20 December 2015 for £2.3m, with the charity entering into a lease agreement up to 20 December 2019 at £115,000 per year. The accounts for 2016 show that one of the trustees, Mr L Boney, was paid £87,600 for arranging the sale of its freehold property. 

A Commission statement said yesterday: “The new board of trustees has taken over full control of the day-to-day management and administration of the charity, which has objects to promote and provide for the advancement of education in accordance with the doctrines and principles of the Christian faith.” 

The school opened in September for the 2018/19 school year. 

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