Charity commission launches investigation into governance of Forest Gate private school

Grangewood Independent School in Forest Gate Picture: Ken Mears

Grangewood Independent School in Forest Gate Picture: Ken Mears - Credit: Archant

The charity commission has launched an investigation into the running of a Forest Gate private school - and has suspended the bank account of the charity that runs it.

The regulator has also appointed joint interim managers to run the Grangewood Educational Association, which runs Grangewood Independent School, following serious concerns about the charity’s governance.

In a statement, the commission said that the charity “has been experiencing financial difficulties and entered into a company voluntary arrangement in 2014”.

It added: “The charity’s premises were sold in 2015 which has allowed the school to keep operating.

“As a result of the death of one trustee and the resignation of another, the charity has recently been functioning with only one trustee. This is in breach of the charity’s governing document which requires 3 trustees to make decisions.”

The inquiry will examine the governance, management and administration of the charity, and whether connected party transactions and remuneration to trustees have been properly authorised.

Parents were told at the beginning of March that the school may have to close as it had run out of money, but later discovered there was still £1 million in the bank account as of mid-March.

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Parents also staged an occupation of the building, in Chester Road, during the Easter holidays, with some teachers also taking part in the sit-in.

The school currently remains open. Part of the roles of the interim managers - Geoff Carton-Kelly and Jason Daniel Baker of FRP Advisory - will be to establish the viability of the charity and the school it operates, and determine the most appropriate option for the future.

Parents pay £1,500 per term to send their children to Grangewood, a Christian school which has been running for almost 40 years.

Newham Council has said there is space for 59 children in other schools.

The Grangewood Educational Association has been contacted for comment.