Private Christian school under governance investigation

A private Christian school in east London is under investigation over “serious concerns” about its governance.

The Charity Commission has frozen the bank accounts of the Grangewood Educational Association, which runs the Grangewood Independent Primary School in Forest Gate, and appointed interim managers.

The watchdog has “serious concerns” about governance at the charity, which was found to be in breach of its own governing document because it only has one trustee when it must have at least three. The intervention follows complaints about the charity’s governance and management.

Grangewood provides “Christian education” to around 65 pupils aged two to 11.

According to the Charity Commission, it has experienced financial difficulties, and sold its premises in 2015 in order to keep the school running.

Following the death of one trustee and the resignation of another, the charity “has recently been functioning with only one trustee”.

In March, the Newham Recorder reported that the school had warned parents it may close down due to financial problems. Parents subsequently occupied the school site after being told it would close at Easter, but the school “presently remains in operation”.

The Charity Commission opened an inquiry and took action to freeze the charity’s bank account and “protect the charity’s funds following a meeting with the charity’s trustee and their advisers” on April 18.

Then, on April 28, Geoff Carton-Kelly and Jason Daniel Baker of FRP Advisory were appointed as joint interim managers.

The investigation will focus on trustees’ compliance with charity rules, the financial management and control of the charity, potential conflicts of interest and decisions about its future.