David Meller takes 'leave of absence' from his own academy trust

David Meller, the organiser of the disgraced Presidents Club charity dinner, is taking a “leave of absence” from the academy trust he founded.

The Meller Educational Trust has condemned the allegations of inappropriate behaviour of guests at the men-only dinner last Thursday, and said Meller’s leave of absence from the board of trustees, which he chairs, will take effect “with immediate effect”.

However, it is unclear whether Meller remains a member of the trust, which runs four schools and a University Technology College. He is still listed on the chain’s website as a member, trustee and its chair.

Meller resigned from his non-executive board member role at the Department for Education yesterday after an investigation by the Financial Times revealed allegations of sexual harassment by guests at the Presidents Club, which was held at London’s prestigious Dorchester Hotel.

He also stood down as chair of the government’s apprenticeships delivery board. His resignation from both government roles were announced in the House of Commons yesterday afternoon by the skills minister Anne Milton. During the debate, the shadow education secretary Angela Rayner told MPs that Meller “should not have any other roles in education”.

His leave of absence from the trust was subsequently announced overnight.

“The trust is absolutely committed to equality of opportunity and respect for all members of society,” said a spokesperson for the Meller Educational Trust. “We are appalled to hear reports of what happened at the Presidents Club dinner.

“We, as trustees, wish to express our sympathy to those women who have been so badly treated. David Meller is taking leave of absence as a trustee with immediate effect. The trustees will continue to support the academies within the trust.”

More to follow.