From Streetlife: a bigger picture of schools controlled by the Howard Partnership Trust
Local Conversations in Fetcham
Howard of Effingham – detailed planning application lodged for a new school and a huge housing development
St Lawrence Primary, Effingham – outline proposal to move school to new Howard site, double school size and put 150 or so houses on existing site. Land the school was built on was donated to community by Lovelace family.
Thomas Knyvett School, Ashford. Latest news from the school – proposal to move Brooklands College to this school site, to be paid for by selling the Brooklands college site.
Kenyngton Manor Primary School (Sunbury-on-Thames) – land is not owned by the Howard Partnership Trust, it is leasehold. No developments at this stage.
Oxted school. Currently a proposal by school governors to convert to Foundation Status is being resisted by parents. School owns a large area of land, beyond existing playing fields. Foundation status would mean The Howard Partnership Trust own this land. No comment necessary.
So it seems reasonable to suppose that the Howard Partnership Trust is acting in some way as a property developer, not solely as an education trust, which is what it should be. I wonder how much of the almost £900,000 the Howard Partnership Trust charged the schools it “manages” last year was spent on producing development plans, and how much staff time was devoted to this? This was tax payers money that was supposed to be spent on education. Are development plans education?
As Michael B said above, I think a letter to the the Education Department questioning various aspects of the conduct of the Howard Partnership Trust would be in order, but copy the Secretary of State for Education, Nicola Morgan; Sec of State for Local Government, Eric Pickles; and Secretary of State for Environment, Liz Truss. When composing your letter please be aware that the Secretary of State should not authorise the sale of assets funded by the tax payer (which has to be done) unless the best possible price that can reasonably be expected is obtained. Ask how taxpayers can be sure that the best possible price is obtained for land the Howard owns unless it is an open bidding process for the existing school grounds, currently promised (in a closed deal) to Berkeley Homes.