The Queen (on the Application of Durand Education Trust) v Secretary of State for Education

JurisdictionEngland & Wales
JudgeLord Justice Newey,Lord Justice McCombe,Lord Justice Flaux
Judgment Date08 December 2020
Neutral Citation[2020] EWCA Civ 1651
Date08 December 2020
Docket NumberCase No: C1/2020/0139
CourtCourt of Appeal (Civil Division)

[2020] EWCA Civ 1651


Royal Courts of Justice

Strand, London, WC2A 2LL


Lord Justice McCombe

Lord Justice Flaux


Lord Justice Newey

Case No: C1/2020/0139

The Queen (On the Application of Durand Education Trust)
Secretary of State for Education


(1) Dunraven Educational Trust
(2) London Borough of Lambeth
Interested Parties

Andrew Sharland QC and Stephen Kosmin (instructed by Lee Bolton Monier-Williams) for the Claimant

Jonathan Moffett QC and Matthew Smith (instructed by the Government Legal Department) for the Defendant

Jonathan Auburn (instructed by SV Law) for the Second Interested Party

The First Interested Party was not represented.

Hearing dates: 3–4 November 2020

Approved Judgment

Lord Justice Newey

This case concerns land at Hackford Road in Stockwell, London (“the Hackford Road Site”) where a school called Van Gogh Primary is now based. Title to the Hackford Road Site was formerly vested in the claimant, Durand Education Trust (“DET”), but it has been transferred to the London Borough of Lambeth (“Lambeth”) without payment of any consideration pursuant to directions made by the defendant, the Secretary of State for Education, under the Academies Act 2010 (“the AA 2010”). DET does not challenge the transfers as such, but it alleges that the decision not to pay it compensation in respect of part of the property, referred to as “the Leisure Centre Land”, was unlawful. It complains of breaches of article 1 of the First Protocol to the European Convention on Human Rights (“the Convention”), article 14 of the Convention and the public sector equality duty (“the PSED”) for which section 149 of the Equality Act 2010 provides.


There has been a school on the Hackford Road Site since the 1880s. In time, the school came to be known as Durand Primary School and I shall call it that for the period up to its conversion into an academy in 2010.


By the 1980s, Durand Primary School was maintained by, and the Hackford Road Site held by, the Inner London Education Authority (“ILEA”). Following the abolition of ILEA in March 1990, Lambeth assumed responsibility for maintenance of the school and the site was transferred to it by operation of law without any payment of consideration. Also in 1990, the governors of the school received a grant of £100,000 from the London Residuary Body, which had been established to distribute funds of the Greater London Council after its abolition. At least part of the grant was used to construct an all-weather sports pitch and a swimming pool on the Hackford Road Site.


In 1995, Durand Primary School turned into a grant-maintained school and the Hackford Road Site was again transferred by operation of law without any payment of consideration, this time to the school's governors (“the Governors”) in accordance with section 38 of the Education Act 1993. That section provided for land used or held for the purposes of a school to be transferred to, and vest in, its governing body on its becoming grant-maintained. By now, the Governors had corporate status, having been incorporated as Durand Primary School's governing body pursuant to section 34 of the 1993 Act.


In about 1995, further works were undertaken on the Hackford Road Site, to convert the upper floors of one of the school buildings into residential accommodation. By 1997, the Governors were renting out that accommodation and also the sports pitch and swimming pool.


In 1997, the Governors incorporated a company limited by guarantee, London Horizons Limited (“LHL”), to undertake trading activity on their behalf. The plan was for LHL to occupy land at the Hackford Road Site for free but to donate its profits to the Governors with the benefit of gift aid. LHL's 2002 accounts explained:

“[LHL] was set up to undertake trading activity on behalf of Durand Primary School …. A Deed of Covenant arrangement has been set up with the School whereby taxable profits are transferred to the School. All the Directors of [LHL] are Governors of Durand Primary School.

The Directors of [LHL] consider that the parent undertaking is the Durand Primary School.”

More recently, from 2015, DET has been LHL's sole member.


Grant-maintained status was abolished in 1999. At that stage, Durand Primary School became a foundation school without a foundation pursuant to the School Standards and Framework Act 1998 (“the SSFA 1998”). The school continued to be maintained by Lambeth and the Hackford Road Site remained in the ownership of the Governors.


In 2001, a residential accommodation block was built on the Hackford Road Site and this was subsequently rented out on a commercial basis. There was substantial further work in 2004, with the construction of a leisure centre including a swimming pool, a gym, changing facilities and a restaurant.


A spreadsheet supplied by DET's then solicitors in 2018 shows “Expenditure on Income Generating Assets 1995 to 2017”. This includes three entries in respect of the Hackford Road Site, as follows:


Teachers accommodation block – located in the main school building



Accommodation block – Liberty Street



Swimming pool and sports centre – Liberty Street



In 2001, LHL had awarded a 10-year contract for the management of parts of the Hackford Road Site to a company owned by Durand Primary School's headmaster, Sir Greg Martin, and members of his family. A similar 10-year contract was awarded to another company owned by Sir Greg Martin and his family in 2012.


In May 2010, Durand Primary School became a foundation school with a foundation with the incorporation of DET on 18 May 2010 as a trust for the foundation. (A foundation school had a foundation where an entity other than its governing body held land on trust for the purposes of the school: see section 21(3)(a) of the SSFA 1998.) The Hackford Road Site was transferred to DET, once again without any payment of consideration, under the School Organisation (Prescribed Alterations to Maintained Schools) (England) Regulations 2007. Paragraph 2A of schedule 6 to those regulations provided as follows:

“(1) This paragraph applies where any proposals that a foundation school should acquire a foundation have been approved.

(2) In such a case, any land, which immediately before the implementation date, was held or used by the local authority or governing body for the purposes of the foundation school, must on that date transfer to, and by virtue of this paragraph vest in, the trustees of the school, to be held on trust for the purposes of the school.”

DET thus held the Hackford Road Site “on trust for the purposes of the school”.


DET is a company limited by guarantee and a registered charity. Its objects were until 2019 stated in article 3 of its articles of association to be restricted to the following:

“3.1 To advance education for the public benefit and in particular the education of the pupils at Durand Primary School and at any school which is a Qualifying School [i.e. a foundation school], or at any other School in respect of which the Company [i.e. DET] acts or has acted as a foundation it being acknowledged that in carrying out the Objects the Company must, so far as is consistent with this purpose, have regard to its obligation to promote community cohesion under the Education Acts.

3.2 To advance education for the public benefit by establishing, maintaining, carrying on managing and developing Academies offering a broad curriculum with a strong emphasis on, but in no way limited to, one or a combination of the specialisms specified in the funding agreements entered into between the Company and the Secretary of State for Children Schools and Families … relating to each of the Academies”

Article 4.1 empowered DET:

“To act as the foundation of Durand Primary School for the purposes of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998 and to act as the foundation of any School which is a Qualifying School”.


In September 2010, Durand Primary School converted into an academy called Durand Academy. DET retained title to the Hackford Road Site, but it was required by the Secretary of State to grant a lease to Durand Academy Trust, which had been established in the preceding month as an exempt charity regulated by the Department for Education. Lambeth ceased to maintain the school and the Governors were dissolved by operation of law, although most of the individual governors were by then trustees of Durand Academy Trust.


Durand Academy Trust ceased to operate Durand Academy on 31 August 2018 with the termination of its funding agreement by the Secretary of State. Van Gogh Primary opened on the Hackford Road Site the next day. The first interested party, Dunraven Educational Trust, is the academy trust for Van Gogh Primary (as well as for other academies).


Earlier in 2018, on 3 April, the chief executive of the Education and Skills Funding Agency (“ESFA”) had made a direction on behalf of the Secretary of State under paragraph 15 of schedule 1 to the AA 2010 to the effect that, on the date Durand Academy ceased to be an academy, the part of the Hackford Road Site containing the school buildings be transferred to Lambeth. The direction (“the First Direction”) provided that, once the transfer had taken place, the Secretary of State would determine whether the payment of any consideration was appropriate and, if so, in what sum. Following the transfer, Lambeth granted a 125-year lease of the land to Dunraven Educational Trust at a peppercorn rent.


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