‘Underfunded’ Durand spends more than £200k on legal fees

Academy trust’s financial accounts say Durand was in talks with the Education Funding Agency over the termination of its funding agreement

An embattled academy trust that is fighting the Department for Education’s efforts to end its funding – and claims it has suffered “underfunding”spent more than £200,000 on legal fees last year, its latest accounts show.

Durand Academy Trust (DAT), which operates a primary phase on two sites in south London, as well as a boarding site, St Cuthman’s, in West Sussex, has been at the centre of controversy over the pay of former headteacher Sir Greg Martin (pictured), and concerns about conflicts of interest in its complex management structure.

It has had a long-running battle with the Education Funding Agency (EFA), which announced last October it was going to terminate Durand’s funding agreement. The trust says, in its accounts for 2015-16 – published on the Companies House website today – that it has been underfunded by the EFA.

The accounts also reveal that DAT spent £209,911 on legal and professional fees in 2015-16, compared with £164,533 the year before.

Its spending on unspecified “other governance costs” increased to £233,818 in the same period, up from £94,102 the year before.