Exclusive: Former Durand primary may lose income from site buildings

Money from leisure centre on academy grounds could benefit wider educational causes rather than just the school

durand, dunraven, van gogh, leisure centre, charity, academy, dfe

The head of the trust that took over a controversial academy has voiced fears that funds from a leisure centre on the school's grounds will no longer be dedicated to supporting the primary.

Durand Academy in Stockwell, south London, was transferred to Dunraven Educational Trust and renamed Van Gogh Primary in September, following years of bitter disputes with the Department for Education about conflicts of interest and executive pay.

The academy’s land, including a private leisure centre that was built on one of the school’s sites, was owned by Durand Education Trust.

David Boyle, chief executive of the Dunraven Educational Trust, told Tes that when the school was transferred to his organisation, the land on which the school buildings sit was returned to the local authority, which leases it back to Dunraven.

However, the leisure centre remains under the ownership of Durand Education Trust.

Mr Boyle said: “My understanding is that the DET [Durand Education Trust] wants to set itself up as a charitable trust, and use the money raised by the leisure centre and accommodation to support education causes locally.”

He added that this could be wider than just supporting Van Gogh Primary, meaning that money raised from the leisure centre on the school’s grounds could be spent on causes other than the school itself.

According to its latest financial accounts, filed in June, Durand Education Trust’s objectives are “to advance education for the public benefit, in particular the education of the pupils at Durand Academy Trust, through establishing, maintaining and developing academies to offer a broad curriculum”.

But a Charity Commission report, published in October 2016, noted that “in practice, DET provides support to Durand Academy Trust, which operates the academy”.

The accounts showed that Durand Education Trust generated an income of £1.1 million from trading activities in 2016-17.

Mr Boyle and John Wentworth, a trustee of Durand Academy Trust, are due to give evidence to the Commons Public Accounts Committee this afternoon.

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