Trust rapped over finances now faces losing school after Ofsted visit

Trust rapped over finances now faces losing school after Ofsted visit

An academy trust that was rapped by the government over financial mismanagement relating to its former private company sponsor faces having the funding scrapped for one of its schools after an “inadequate” Ofsted inspection.

The Education Fellowship Trust has been issued with a termination warning notice relating to Wrenn School in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, by schools commissioner Martin Post.

Post, the schools commissioner for north west London and south central England, has threatened to terminate the trust’s funding agreement for the school, which was rated as inadequate by Ofsted in October, after inspectors raised fears about pupil outcomes.

The government can issue such notices when a school is found by Ofsted to need “significant improvement”.

In a letter sent to trust chair Rachel Mallows in early December, Post raised concerns over “serious weaknesses” identified by Ofsted and the need for “significant improvement”.

The letter has only just been published online.

It is not the first time a government agency has intervened in the trust’s affairs in the past year.

The trust was told by the Education Funding Agency in September to close a linked commercial company and “closely monitor” its finances.

The government said the trust’s organisational model was “not acceptable”, and concerns were raised over its relationship with The Education Fellowship Limited, which was at the time was the chain’s private limited company owner.

At the time, trust chief operating officer Lizzie Rowe insisted its structures had been approved by the DfE in both 2012 and 2014, and questioned the use of public funds for the investigation.

It followed an earlier investigation by the EFA in 2014, which highlighted concerns over governors’ expenses of £45,000, including for a fact-finding trip to New York, and unadvertised jobs that went to family members.

The trust, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment, has until tomorrow to make representations to the government.