High Court rules that Khalsa Academies Trust has an arguable case against Department for Education
Judicial Review will now examine basis of decision to terminate Trust’s funding at Khalsa Secondary Academy
The High Court has ruled that the Khalsa Academies Trust has an ‘arguable case’ and a Judicial Review hearing will now take place as the Trust seeks to defend itself from a Department for Education (DfE) decision to terminate its funding to run Khalsa Secondary Academy, at Stoke Poges, Buckinghamshire.
The Trust’s case for legal action argues that:
1. The Secretary of State failed to properly consult with the Network of Sikh Organisations before making the decision.
2. The Secretary of State breached the Equality Act 2010 by treating the Sikh school differently to Catholic or Anglican academy schools.
3. The Secretary of State acted irrationally in terminating the Trust’s funding agreement in light of all the circumstances – in particular in light of the impact of Covid-19 and the steps that had been taken by the Trust following the Ofsted report
The Trust filed its Judicial Review claim in the High Court on 28 August 2020. The High Court determined today that the case is ‘arguable’ on all grounds.
Nick Singh Kandola, CEO of the Khalsa Academies Trust, said:
“Our Trust is wholeheartedly focused on delivering an excellent education for the pupils at Khalsa Secondary Academy and we have always felt that the decision recommended by Kate Dethridge, RSC, to terminate our funding was hasty, unfair and, ultimately, unlawful. It simply did not recognise the circumstances under lockdown or the work being done to improve the school. Now, the court has agreed that we have an arguable case. We hope that the upcoming hearing will highlight the flaws in the DfE’s decision to terminate and lead to that decision being quashed. That is the only reasonable outcome to a situation which is deeply regrettable.”
The Trust’s case is also based on the fact that it responded fully and with urgency to the points identified for improvement in the original 2019 Ofsted report on Khalsa Secondary Academy. Its evidence shows that it took action in line with all of Ofsted’s recommendations and has had its work assessed and benchmarked by independent review.
When notifying of its decision to terminate, the DfE did not take these actions or independent assessments into consideration, much to the frustration of the Trust.
The case is likely to be heard in June or July 2021
For more information, please contact:
Ben Copithorne / Emily Barnes at Camargue on 020 7636 7366 /