DfE: Holland Park School did not break rules over luxury spending


The government has ruled that a single-academy trust that spent thousands on luxury paint and pays its head £260,000 has not broken funding rules.

In the past three years Holland Park School in Kensington, west London, spent almost £15,000 on luxury Farrow & Ball paint and £6,000 on top-of-the-range Jo Malone scented candles, which were paid for through donations and school-generated income.

The school – once dubbed the “socialist Eton” – insisted its spending choices were “justified in the interests of students and staff”.

However, a Schools Week investigation prompted Lord Agnew, the academies minister, to warn that the government would be “looking into this matter further to ensure that all spending is within the framework of the Academies Financial Handbook”.

The Department for Education has twice asked Holland Park to justify the salary of its head Colin Hall (pictured). Another three employees are paid more than £100,000.

A spokesperson for the DfE said this week it had “looked into the finances of Holland Park and no breaches of the Academies Financial Handbook were found.

“We continue to challenge trusts that are not complying to justify high salaries.”

Holland Park was contacted for comment.

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