RBS to face legal action from Sheffield school

brantwood school closes in 2010.
brantwood school closes in 2010.
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Governors of an independent Sheffield girls’ school which was forced to shut suddenly are planning legal action against the Royal Bank of Scotland.

Brantwood in Nether Edge closed down in February 2010 with dozens of pupils forced to find alternative schools at short notice.

Now its former governors are planning to act in the wake of a new report which accuses RBS of setting up a ‘hit squad’ to force small companies out of business in order to seize their assets.

They could demand compensation for parents who lost money from fees paid in advance and for teachers who lost their jobs.

Brantwood parents were given less than two weeks’ notice that the school would have to close.

NatWest, part of the RBS Group, refused to extend loan facilities, forcing the school to shut.

Former chair of governors John Boyington said: “For many months we had been working closely with NatWest and with advisers to ensure the school remained viable.

“Our discussions had been very positive despite the difficult economic circumstances in which the school was operating.

“Then just after Christmas members of the RBS Global Restructuring Group became involved, and things started to change dramatically.”

Allegations against RBS, which is mostly owned by the Government, centre on the Global Restructuring Group.

It is accused of snapping up at rock bottom prices properties and other assets belonging to previously viable companies.

In early 2010 Brantwood’s governors gained an independent valuation of the school and its grounds of £1 million, in order to secure further borrowing.

“That sum was a reasonable price for such an asset in the heart of Nether Edge,” Mr Boyington said.

“GRG presented their own valuation of between £500,000 and £600,000 - but the people who prepared it had not even visited the site.

“Using this second valuation GRG declined the school any further borrowing facility and so forced it into administration - something that shocked our experienced professional advisers.”

Mr Boyington said the bank later tried to blame the governors, saying their valuation was unrealistic.

“We will now be contacting the legal firm looking into the actions of GRG,” he said.

“We feel it is important to restore the reputation of the governors, and we also want to obtain recompense for the teachers and parents who lost out financially as a result of RBS’ actions.”

An RBS spokesman said the bank had supported Brantwood School for three years despite its deteriorating position, and said its views on the closure were unchanged.