Education trust told it can no longer run Khalsa Secondary Academy

An education trust has been told by the academies minister it can no longer run a Sikh-ethos school in Stoke Poges.

The Khalsa Academies Trust, which oversees Khalsa Secondary Academy, received notice on June 4 that the school’s funding agreement will be terminated with the Government.

Ofsted inspectors rated the academy ‘inadequate’ following a no-notice inspection in December which saw concerns raised over child safeguarding and financial management.

The Education Skills and Funding Agency (ESFA) then told the trust in February to launch an independent review of its finances and take action to ensure its trustees had the correct skills to hold the trust’s executive management team to account.

A month later the Trust said ‘significant steps’ had been taken to appoint trustees with experience in education, finances and health.

But the academies minister Baroness Berridge has now said the Trust has failed to demonstrate it has the knowledge or experience to improve the school.

Her letter said: “I recognise that this letter will be disappointing for the Trust and I hope that the trustees will continue to work closely with officials to ensure the best possible education for all the pupils as the Academy transfers to a new education trust.”

Baroness Berridge added there was a lack of evidence of the Trust holding its chief executive, Nick Kandola, to account, and a lack of focus and detail on the improvement of provision for children with special educational needs.

The Department for Education’s preference is to transfer the academy to a ‘strong-performing sponsor’ which will reflect the Sikh ethos of the school.

The trust’s chair of trustees, Shaminder Rayatt, said the decision would have potentially ‘catastrophic consequences’ for students, parents and the Sikh community.

A statement from Nick Singh Kandola, chief executive of the trust, said: “We have tried very hard to convince the Department for Education to postpone their decision until Ofsted were ready to visit the school, and we are confident that they will rate it as a ‘Good’ school.

“We would like to reassure the school parents, staff and students that we will do everything in our power to protect the faith and ethos of the school. We will be considering all options including a legal challenge.”

A deadline of October 30 has been set to finalise the termination of the trust’s funding agreement.

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