Luton faith school set to close after charity watchdog launches second investigation

The Charity Commission is investigating an educational charity in Luton for the second time after it allegedly breached conditions imposed by the Department for Education (DfE).

Wednesday, 18th November 2020, 6:13 pm
Updated Wednesday, 18th November 2020, 6:18 pm
The Rabia School in Portland Road is set to close

Rabia Educational Trust - which operates the Rabia School on Portland Road, Luton - has also failed to comply with actions previously set by the charity watchdog, it is claimed.

As a consequence, a DfE spokesman said it has issued the school "an enforcement order to de-register them" - meaning it will be closed down.

The charity regulator previously investigated the Rabia Educational Trust in 2017 and found there had been misconduct and mismanagement.

They ordered the trustees to make improvements, including to ensure compliance with the regulatory requirements of Ofsted and the Department for Education.

Since then, the Charity Commission has kept the charity under close review and provided further regulatory advice and guidance. While some progress has been made, the commission states that trustees have "persistently failed" in the requirement to meet the Independent Schools Standards.

In May 2020 the charity and its chair were convicted for breaching operating conditions imposed by the Secretary of State for Education. Ofsted inspectors had found evidence that the school was admitting new pupils despite being prohibited from doing so due to successive safeguarding and welfare failings.

As a result of this, and the alleged failure to comply with regulatory advice and guidance, the Commission opened a new inquiry into the charity on October 5, 2020.

This inquiry will examine the trustees’ compliance with their legal duties around the administration, governance and management of the charity, and whether the charity can be placed on a firmer footing for the future. The regulator may extend the scope of the inquiry if additional regulatory issues emerge.

It is the Commission’s policy, after it has concluded an inquiry, to publish a report detailing what issues the inquiry looked at, what actions were undertaken as part of the inquiry and what the outcomes were. Reports of previous inquiries by the Commission are available on GOV.UK.

Luton Today contacted Rabia Educational Trust before going to press but did not receive a response.