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Durand: controversial academy trust to have funding agreement terminated

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The government has decided to withdraw funding from one of England's most controversial academy trusts, it was announced this morning.

The Education Funding Agency has written to the south London based Durand Academy Trust giving notice of “termination of the funding agreement”.

Today's letter from EFA chief executive Peter Lauener to Durand’s chairman of governors Sir Greg Martin follows a provisional notice sent on 4 July, which set out a list of changes that the EFA wanted the academy trust to make.

The trust was required, by 1 August, to provide a written response confirming it would comply with all the requirements.

But, today’s notice states, on 1 August  DAT’s solicitors sent “a lengthy response” which stated that it was only an “interim response”.

Mr Lauener explained that, in order to “put it beyond doubt that DAT had a full opportunity to respond”, the deadline was extended to 22 August.

The trust’s solicitors wrote back on 16 August, 22 August, 25 August and 30 September 2016.

Sir Greg Martin also wrote to the Secretary of State on 1 August.

However, the EFA’s letter today says the trust has failed, or refused to comply fully with six of the eight requirements set out in the notice and as a result it will terminate the funding agreement.

The trust was established by Sir Greg Martin, the controversial headteacher who made headlines after it emerged he had earned nearly £400,000 in one year.

Sir Greg’s large income came from his basic salary, pension contributions and through the leisure centre that he ran on the school site.

He retired in August last year, but remained as chair of governors at the trust and as director of his private business, called GMG, which manages the gym, swimming pool and studio apartments that are still part of the South London school's site.

In July, the EFA issued a pre-termination notice, threatening to withdraw its funding agreement unless the trust complied with a series of conditions - that included Sir Greg stepping down as chair of governors.

The trust has also established a satellite boarding school in West Sussex, which TES revealed last month had recently appointed a head of boarding who is subject to a professional conduct inquiry.

Durand was also accused of sacking the previous head of boarding after he criticised its “belligerent” approach to the demands set out by the EFA.

Durand has been contacted for comment.

 

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