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News - 14 March 2014

Free school run by private firm fails inspection

The Swedish company Internationella Engelska Skolan (IES) broke new ground in funding arrangements when they won a £21m contract to run the Suffolk school for 10 years. The secondary school, which opened in autumn 2012, had been seen as pushing the boundaries of private-sector involvement in running state-funded schools.

IES runs a chain of 22 schools in Sweden and plans to expand further.

However, the school in Brandon has been put into special measures by Ofsted.

A Department for Education spokesman says it will take "tough action" if the school fails to improve.

Tonmoy Kumar, Manager of the Accounts Department of ABDS and an active school governor comments:
“Free schools cannot be run for profit, but at IES Breckland a private firm was paid to run the school on behalf of the not-for-profit trust. This contract includes a management fee. This has been further complicated by IES being bought by a private equity firm since winning the contract.”

The inspection report, which has not yet been formally published by Ofsted, is expected to identify a number of weaknesses in the school.

Christine Blower, leader of the National Union of Teachers, said: "Parents and students at this so-called pioneering school have been badly let down, not only by the school's private operators but by the government which has sold them the lie that free schools can provide them with a better offer than their state school neighbours."

A Department for Education spokesman said: "As with any school found to be inadequate, we now expect the Trust to make rapid improvements and we will not hesitate to take tough action if they fail to do so.”

If you need any help and advice with Free Schools, Academy Schools or Charities, contact Lavinia Newman or Peter Ham now to discuss how ABDS can help bring their experience to these matters.

ABDS Chartered Certified Accountants of Southampton.
Tel: 023 8083 6900  E-mail: abds@netaccountants.net

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