Report on Walden School reveals pension funds were ‘mistakenly unpaid’

PUBLISHED: 08:44 30 August 2018 | UPDATED: 08:44 30 August 2018

Waldlen School

Waldlen School

Archant

The administrators of Walden School, an independent school in Saffron Walden which closed last year, found that £10,000 of pension contributions had been ‘mistakenly unpaid’ by the company more than a year before the school closed.

The report from the administrators, Grant Thornton, which has been seen by the Reporter, reveals that a number of ‘errors and omissions’ were identified in the company’s pension schemes and Grant Thornton’s pension specialist has spent ‘considerable’ time trying to resolve the issues.

It is understood that all affected employees have been notified and contributions will be paid during the administration process.

Elsewhere in the report, Grant Thornton said it was aiming to rescue the company as a going concern, while adding that all it was hoped all creditors would finally be paid by October 16.

If the company comes out of administration, its accounts would need to be brought up to date, according to Grant Thornton and the Charity Commission, with accounts from the final year before the school entered administration currently missing.

A debt owed to Barclays Bank of more than £1million has been repaid in full, the reported noted, including interest, which brought the total to £1.202m.

Employee claims are estimated to total £1.9m, which includes redundancy, notice pay and wages, and is part of a total debt to creditors of £2.3m.

Grant Thornton anticipate that creditors will be paid in full shortly with additional interest of eight per cent per annum.

It has also emerged from the report that Grant Thornton originally accepted an offer of £8.4m from a party that proposed to establish a new school, but the party withdrew its offer on February 15. The interested party, unnamed in the report, had concluded that its proposal was not financially viable in the medium to long term and withdrew.

Grant Thornton said it is continuing to review the company’s books and records to form part of their investigations into the conduct of the trustees and would be ‘pleased’ to receive any useful information from any creditors about the company, its dealings or conduct which may assist the investigations into the company’s affairs.

The administrators are required to submit a report to the Government Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on the conduct of the school’s trustees, which will not be made public.

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