Durand: DfE pushing on with termination of funding despite High Court quashing Ofsted report

Academy had feared special measures verdict would have allowed ministers to end funding immediately

Martin George

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The government will press ahead with plans to end the funding of a controversial academy, despite the High Court quashing an Ofsted report that would have put it in special measures.

Durand Academy, based in Stockwell in south London, won its legal challenge after Judge McKenna said Ofsted’s complaints procedure for schools rated "inadequate" was “not a rational or fair process”.

It followed an inspection of the school on 30 November and 1 December last year, following which the inspectors said the school should be put in special measures.

The ruling came weeks after the Department for Education told Durand Academy Trust that it would terminate its funding next year, because it had failed to take action required to address concerns about its financial management and governance.

That decision marked the culmination of a prolonged dispute between the Education Funding Agency (EFA), which is part of the DfE, and the academy trust.

During the court proceedings, the DfE was listed as an interested party, on the side of Ofsted.

Today, the department said its plans to end Durand’s funding were unaffected by the High Court ruling.

A DfE spokesperson said: “Our concerns over the Durand Academy Trust’s financial management and governance are entirely separate from the Ofsted report.

“In June we informed the trust that we will be terminating its funding agreement – giving 12 months’ notice – and the outcome of the court hearing has no bearing on the process of transferring the leadership which will continue as planned.”

In his written skeleton argument ahead of last month’s High Court hearing, Durand’s lawyer Gerard Clarke told the judge that if the Ofsted report had stood, it would “probably result in [Durand Academy Trust’s] funding contract with the secretary of state being summarily terminated”.

He added: “[Durand] can challenge the EFA’s recent one year’s notice to terminate and proposes to do so by way of breach of contract, but [Durand] will have much less (or no) chance of opposing summary termination based on the report”

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Martin George

Martin George

Martin George is a reporter at Tes

Find me on Twitter @geomr

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