Failed school won’t repay fees

girlsBS''BRANTWOOD SCHOOL CLOSES  Parents and pupils leave Brantwood School at the end of the school day, as the school closes.     11 February 2010
girlsBS''BRANTWOOD SCHOOL CLOSES Parents and pupils leave Brantwood School at the end of the school day, as the school closes. 11 February 2010
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GOVERNORS at a bankrupt Sheffield school are to escape legal action over almost £60,000 in pupils’ fees paid by parents in advance.

Brantwood Independent School for Girls at Nether Edge closed suddenly in February last year. Parents had only nine days warning.

The school collapsed with debts of more than £575,000, with most parents left out of pocket as fees were usually paid one term in advance.

Six parents had paid for the whole school year upfront and were left being owed £59,625.

Because of the debts, none of the families who paid £3,000 a term will get anything back.

A report by the administrators Grant Thornton is now recommending no action should be taken by the parents to pursue their claim.

“Whilst parents may feel there is a case for the adminstrators to bring an action against the governors for banking these fees knowing that educational services would not be delivered, our review leads us to believe that this is not the case and any action would have no prospects of success,” it says.

The report adds the governors were not paid employees and did not draw cash from the company. They did not gain personally by banking fees.

Some parents alleged the school continued to collect fees when governors must have known it was in a perilous financial position.

Brantwood was forced to shut after its bankers RBS refused to support its debts any longer.

It has been sold for £775,000 to the Freeman College educational charity and will become a residential school for children with autism.

About £34,000 was also owed to Brantwood, some of it from parents, but the administrator believes only half will eventually be recovered.

When other fees, charges and expenses are taken into account, Grant Thornton believes there will be less than £13,000 left to pay creditors.

First in line for payments will be school staff, who were together owed nearly £52,000 in pay and holiday pay.