Regulator launches second inquiry into education charity following ‘persistent failures’

The Charity Commission is launching a second investigation into an education charity that has “failed to comply” with the regulator’s previous calls to improve.

The Rabia Educational Trust, which runs the Rabia School in Luton, was previously investigated by the regulator in 2016/17 for misconduct and/or mismanagement.

It has also been criticised by education regulator Ofsted.

The Charity Commission’s previous investigation looked at late submissions of accounts and concerns around governance, record keeping and decision-making processes. Around 40% of its income was not being banked and some of its staff were paid in cash

But “while some progress has been made the trustees have persistently failed” to meet education standards since this previous investigation.

The fresh investigation follows the conviction of the charity and its chair for breaching operation conditions imposed by the government. It was found to be admitting new pupils, despite being banned from doing so due to “safeguarding and welfare failings”, said the regulator.

The new inquiry will examine trustee’s compliance with their legal duties around administration, governance and management of the charity and whether the charity “can be placed on a firmer footing for the future”.

The inquiry opened on 5 October and a report detailing its findings will be published in due course.

Concerns flagged up by Ofsted included the segregation of men and women through the use of a dividing screen across the middle of a room during a meeting with inspectors. The charity’s school had been subject to unannounced inspections by Ofsted from 2014 and 2016. On each occasion the school was judged to be ‘inadequate’.

Ofsted inspectors were concerned that un-vetted guest speakers were used by the school and its leaders and governors “through their actions, undermine the school’s work to promote fundamental British values”.

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