Building on a Pounds 2m foundation

4th November 1994 at 00:00
Public appointments, payments to MPs and the role of quangos are under scrutiny. The TES examines the likely impact of the Nolan inquiry on the world of education. Among the institutions set up by the present Government to promote its radical education reforms is the Grant-Maintained Schools Foundation, which has already come under scrutiny for the way it operates and makes appointments.

The chairman of the foundation, a limited company that receives all its funding from the Department for Education, is Sir Robert Balchin. He is an influential Conservative and treasurer of the party's south-east region, and is also chairman of the Grant-Maintained Schools Centre, a private company that sells services to grant-maintained schools. (Sir Robert is also a member of the Funding Agency for Schools) The foundation was created earlier this year (it took on the name of a former charitable body) and its role is to provide information to schools about becoming grant-maintained. The job of chief officer was not advertised. The appointment went to Andrew Turner, a Conservative county councillor in Oxfordshire, who was transferred from the Grant-Maintained Schools Centre. He had formerly been employed by a trust set up to promote opting-out to schools.

The foundation said this week that eight staff work from the London office, excluding the chairman, and four in the regional offices. A further three regional offices will open in the North-east, Exeter and Swansea.

The foundation's press officer, Jenny Smith, said terms and conditions of employees were confidential. Although wholly funded by the DFE - a grant of Pounds 695,000 this year - it operates independently. It is not listed as a non-departmental government body and the conditions of its grant are set out in confidential memoranda.

Before its creation, the DFE was funding the Grant-Maintained Schools Centre. In 19934 the centre received Pounds 800,000. In total, it has had about Pounds 2 million, intended to enable the centre to provide services to grant-maintained schools. The National Audit Office does not audit the accounts, but it does have powers of investigation.

The foundation appoints its own directors. They include Sir Christopher Lawson, former director of marketing for the Tory party. Sir Robert is not paid by the centre. Directors can claim an attendance allowance of Pounds 55 a day.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now