Bids to take on Walden School for education purposes were not ‘financially supported’

PUBLISHED: 08:13 10 May 2018 | UPDATED: 08:13 10 May 2018

Walden School in April, 2018.

Walden School in April, 2018.

Archant

Administrators insist that an education provider was sought to take on Walden School following its closure, but it did not receive a “financially supported offer” that would have allowed for the creditors to be paid in full.

Grant Thornton was appointed on July 17, 2017, as the administrators for Walden School, formerly the Friends’ School, and instructed Savills to act as agents in selling the school.

The creditors agreed a fixed fee to be paid to Grant Thornton of £1.5 million for their work in connection with the administration.

A spokesman for Grant Thornton said: “Savills undertook an extensive marketing campaign to sell the property on the open market, inviting offers but with an emphasis on attracting educational providers.

“An offer from an education provider was subsequently accepted and we proceeded to draw up contracts. Unfortunately, at a late stage the purchaser withdrew from the process as they were not comfortable with the long term viability of the project.

“A second marketing campaign then commenced which included contacting all parties who had previously expressed an interest. This resulted in the eventual sale of the site.”

When asked why the bids to keep it as a school were not successful, Grant Thornton said: “The administrators did not receive a financially supported offer from an education provider that would have allowed for the creditors to be paid in full.”

Prior to the school entering into administration, Grant Thornton said there had been other attempts to market and sell the site for educational purposes but these were also unsuccessful.

Once the sale has gone through, and creditors are paid, surplus funds will remain in the company and be returned to the governors, which should be used to meet the company’s ‘charitable objectives’.

A spokesman for Grant Thornton said: “In the event that there is a surplus (and this is not guaranteed at this stage) it will remain within the company, which will be passed back to the governors as a solvent entity.

“Given that the timing and quantity of any surplus is not yet clear, there are no firm plans for how it will be used.

“Any future plans will need to consider the charitable objects of the company.”

The Charity Commission said Walden School will remain as a charity until the administration process is complete.

A spokesman for the Charity Commission said: “The commission engaged with Walden School and provided guidance to help with the administration process. Any remaining funds must be used for exclusively charitable purposes.

“It is the legal responsibility of a charity’s trustees to continue to file accounts whilst the charity is in administration. The charity will remain on the register until the process is complete.”

It is understood that the educational bid to take on the school was from the Department for Education (DfE), however the DfE declined to comment when approached by the Reporter.

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