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£1billion of title deeds for schools transferred to private companies

(86 Posts)
BeingAMumIsFun Wed 15-Aug-12 00:00:03

Before the election councils in England held the title deeds to schools and land valued at over £2.5 billion

But most people don't know the very fine print of the academies bill means

1. The title deeds of the school and the land are transferred to a private company when the school becomes an academy

2. Michael Gove borrows £25,000 to pay the legal fees for the private companies to ensure the title deeds are transferred from the council (us taxpayers who paid to build the schools - to these private companies)

So far £1billion of title deeds for schools have been transferred from taxpayers - with Michael gove increasing the deficit by £481,750,000 - just for legal fees to transfer ownership of the schools from councils to private companies

So who has the title deeds now

Tory party member Philip Harris has his hands on £millions worth of title deeds. (Philip Harrismade donations to David Cameron as leader of the Conservative Party. He is considered to be one of his personal friends

Stanley Fink, another friend of Cameron has donated £2.62m to the Conservative party and David Cameron made Fink a Lord as soon as he came to power, and David Cameron has since made him Tory Party Treasurer and also handed his company £millions title deeds for schools

And today David Cameron has told us, as well as changing the law to transfer state assets to Tory party members (and I thought only China did that) - now he is changing the laws to allow them to start selling the Land

Just so you know - Stanley Fink - his company states in their accounts - any extra money - his company has a policy to transfer the funds to the Cayman Islands - via a stockbrokers that Stanley fink just happens to be on the board of

Now if I remember correctly the directors of southern cross did the same thing with care homes - selling them off - the money disappears offshore the company goes bust and pensioners left high and dry (with taxpayers expected to step in)

Well Cameron has just announced Tory party members who have their hands on the title deeds for our schools and the school land can start doing the same thing

And just to be clear - Stanley Fink's company accounts for the schools also state - if Stanley fink's company controlling the schools, the school budgets and the title deeds goes bust - Stanley Fink (Tory party treasurer on the Times rich list) only has to pay £10

Academies are not about education - they are about asset stripping and English parents and children, will find themselves, just like the pensioners and their families who were left without facilities due to the very rich directors of Southern Cross selling off the assets and disappearing in to the sunset

Do MIchael Gove and David Cameron shout from the rooftops that they are spending £25,000 per school to cover legal fees to transfer the title deeds to Tory Party members - no

I wonder why not - could it be they don't want England's parents to know the real intentions of the academies bill - it's not about education - it is about asset stripping by Tory Party members - thanks to David Cameron, Michael Gove, every Tory MP and every LIberal MP

These are your schools - they do not belong to the Tory Party (well they do now)

Ask Michael Gove if your council gets the money when they sell off school land

Ask Stanley Fink (ARK SCHOOLS) - will this Tory Party treasurer be selling playing fields and as his accounts state, the money be transferred to the Cayman Islands (with his stockbrokers taking a cut along the way)

Serious questions - £1billion worth of assets stripped -- £half a billion in legal fees to pay for it (which we the taxpayers must pay back as Gove had to borrow the money)

flexybex Wed 15-Aug-12 00:08:36

If you look at the sale of playing fields info from another thread:

This article references 'Eliot School' in Wandsworth as one that is selling part of its land.

This is a link to information on the school's web-site. Look at what they're disposing :

Eliot School becomes an ARK academy in September.

The country wil never, ever get that land back. And we are all letting it happen.

BeingAMumIsFun Wed 15-Aug-12 00:18:56

NO surprise there then - already Stanley Fink - Tory Party Treasurer - selling your children's playing fields (the same one's you owned until Gove transferred the title deeds)

A study of ARK accounts for the 8 schools they controlled in 2010 - showed Stanley Fink and the other directors of Ark Schools - underspent the education budget for the children attending the 8 Ark Schools by 7% - and all the money that they were given to education children which Stanley Fink chose not to spend went to the Cayman Islands via his stockbrokers - to the Ark Cayman Island Fund

No surprise an ex employee of Rupert Murdoch is the managing director of Ark Schools

All in it together

This land is yours - David Cameorn did not ask English parents if Tory party members should be given the title deeds and then start selling everything the minute they got their grubby hands on them

You paid for the schools. You paid for the land

Stanley Fink did not pay 1 penny for any of the schools he holds the title deeds for

Stanley Fink did not pay 1 penny for the playing fields he is now selling

These belong to you, your village, your town -

Just because Cameron and Gove changed the law does not make it legal or right

If English Parents don't stand up now and demand these schools are transferred back to your council, like Southern Cross, you will have no schools and no land

And who is Stanley Fink selling the land to and how much for?

Where does the money go?

If that was my school and my children's playing fields I would be holding sit ins until the title deeds are handed over

Schools are not assets for stripping - schools are there to educate English children

But David Cameron, Philip Harris and Stanley Fink all believe it's not education - its assets for selling

Save your schools - save your school land - demand the title deeds back into the safe hands of your councils - after all you elected councillors to run schools and they did it for years without selling the land and the title deeds were kept in trust for you

And councils have never transferred education funds to the Cayman Islands via Stockbrokers they own

Which is exactly why only democratically elected, accountable councillors can be trusted with the title deeds for your schools

caramelwaffle Wed 15-Aug-12 00:31:53


(adding to watch list)


scarlettsmummy2 Wed 15-Aug-12 00:45:05

If true, this is shocking. Shame on you Mr Cameron.

prh47bridge Wed 15-Aug-12 01:27:40

This is complete rubbish. Academies that have converted from LA controlled schools generally do not own their land. They lease it from the LA on a 125 year lease. The land remains the property of the LA.

The allegations concerning ARK and Stanley Fink are also rubbish (and potentially libellous). In 2010 ARK Schools received £33.635M GAG (i.e. education budget) and spent £33.634M. Total income from all sources exceeded expenditure but the excess income stayed within ARK Acaemies in the UK. None of it was transferred to the Cayman Islands. There is no ARK Cayman Islands fund. They do not operate in the Cayman Islands.

BeingAMumIsFun Wed 15-Aug-12 02:08:50

It is not rubbish and here is the proof - ARK holds up to 60 per cent of its funds in the Cayman Islands

(managed by a Cayman Islands ARK company AMML – which is advised by ARK Masters Advisers UK Ltd )

And here is it stated in Arks own accounts giving all the information on the Cayman Island Fund (and as ARK owns ARK Schools they manage the excess funds)

A quick study of ARK Schools’ 2010 accounts shows they spent nothing on staff development across eight schools but £285,000 in ‘educational consultant’ fees and that the schools’ budget was underspent by 7.5% - resulting in an operational surplus of £1.8 million (in 2009 the operational surplus was £3.6 million).

and regarding Stanley Fink, not rubbish - he states in his register of interests in the house of Lords he is on the board of ARK Masters Advisers (stockbrokers), Ark Schools and multiple other ARK companies (including ARK global)

Ark global own Ark Schools -

It is ARK accounts stating all these facts - so if ARK state these facts surely they cannot be libellous or untrue

I hope that sets the record straight for all mums on this site as to the accusation what I posted was all rubbish

BeingAMumIsFun Wed 15-Aug-12 02:10:51

And as to "This is complete rubbish. Academies that have converted from LA controlled schools generally do not own their land. They lease it from the LA on a 125 year lease. The land remains the property of the LA."

If the council own the land why is ARK selling the land ?

Can you tell us how many schools lease the land and how many academies have the title deeds for the land

It would be most helpful if you could back this up with facts and websites to help us all decide the true facts

Toughasoldboots Wed 15-Aug-12 03:12:16

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Toughasoldboots Wed 15-Aug-12 03:12:47

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Leftwingharpie Wed 15-Aug-12 07:31:06

I worked on numerous academy conversions and in not one did the land transfer fees come to anything like £25k. The companies behind academies are charitable companies limited by guarantee with articles that require them to hold all their assets for educational activities for the benefit of the public. As has been said upthread, typically the land is leased from the local authority on a long lease. Where are you getting all this from?

prh47bridge Wed 15-Aug-12 08:30:07

She doesn't even seem to be aware that most of the ARK and Harris academies were set up under the last government, so if there are problems she should be blaiming Blair, Brown, Balls, et al.

The ARK academies are run by ARK Schools (a UK charity), a subsidiary of Absolute Return for Kids (also a UK charity). ARK Schools does not pay money to ARK. Money flows in the other direction with ARK Schools receiving £4.35M from ARK in the form of grants and sponsorship. The surplus generated by ARK Schools was retained by ARK schools and used for capital expenditure.

It is true that ARK (NOT ARK Schools) holds some of its funds in an investment trust managed by a Cayman Islands company. However, the implication that the money goes to the Cayman Islands and makes its way from their into the pockets of individuals is clearly wrong (and is potentially libellous). The money remains the property of ARK who hold the only beneficial share in the Cayman Islands company (which means it cannot pay dividends to anyone else). Similarly, as ARK Schools spent all its GAG money on education and did not pay any money to ARK, her statement that they are diverting public money to the Cayman Islands is rubbish (and also potentially libellous).

Her comment on staff development costs shows she has not read Ark School's accounts properly (or is deliberately misrepresenting them). That line item refers to opening new academies and new academy buildings. It has nothing to do with training and developing staff at existing academies.

ARK School's accounts show that they have not disposed of any land or buildings, so I've no idea where she gets that from. ARK do not own the land for academies that converted from LA-controlled schools. They lease the land from the LA. They may, of course, own the land for schools that were not previously LA-controlled and they are at liberty to buy additional land. But any land that was previously in public ownership remains in public ownership.

prh47bridge Wed 15-Aug-12 10:30:34

The £25k referred to by the OP is start-up funding for project management, consultancy and transitional staffing/management costs. It is nothing to do with land transfers and does not cover the full costs of a school becoming an academy.

To pick up on a couple of other points:

ARK Schools and ARK are charities. They are not owned by Stanley Fink or any other individual, nor can they be owned by an individual. The allegation that Stanely Fink owns and profits from ARK is clearly untrue.

An academy is constituted as a company limited by guarantee (as are most UK charities). This is different from a normal limited company in that all members are equal (i.e. you can't take control of the company by buying a majority of shares - there are no shares) and the members do have some liability if the company goes bust (usually £1 or £10 - in a normal limited company the shareholders have no liability if the company goes bust).

The OP's second post alleges that named individuals (including government ministers) are engaged in a criminal conspiracy to defraud the taxpayer. That is libellous and clearly untrue.

The OP is sees something sinister in the sale of playing fields and believes this is a way of enabling asset stripping by academies. She is wrong. The government has approved the sale of 21 school playing fields since coming to power. Of these, 14 were schools that had closed and 4 were sites that became surplus when existing schools amalgamated. The other three consist of:

- land described as "surplus marginal grassland". The full proceeds from this sale were invested in the school library and sports changing facilities.

- land leased to a company which redeveloped the field for the school's use so that they now have all weather surfaces providing four 5-a-side pitches, two 7-a-side pitches, full size football and hockey pitches and a six court indoor tennis facility. The school profits from private hire of these facilities outside school hours.

- land due to be leased to an Athletics Club in a similar scheme to improve school facilities. This project did not go ahead.

None of these sales resulted in funds going to Stanley Fink, ARK or any other private individual or academy chain. As I have already pointed out, where a school was previously in LA ownership the land remains in LA ownership.

For comparison, the last government approved the sale of 73 school playing fields in its first two years in power and 27 in its last two years. On average over the Labour Party's entire period in power from 1999 to 2010 they approved the sale of 19 school playing fields per year.

DoItOnce Wed 15-Aug-12 10:37:26

Interesting thread.

I will watch....

flexybex Wed 15-Aug-12 10:37:34

The Eliot School (an ARK academy) is getting rid of land, which is quite clear from the plans. Who gets the money for the sale? The council, the school, or both?

EdithWeston Wed 15-Aug-12 10:41:33

I don't know who gets the proceeds, but sell offs of school playing fields are one third lower under this administration to date than they were under the previous one (21 in 2 years, compared to over 200 in 13 by the last).

prh47bridge Wed 15-Aug-12 12:47:28

If the Elliott School scheme goes ahead the proceeds from any sale will go to Wandsworth Council. They plan to use the proceeds to improve the sports facilities at the school, refurbish and repair the school buildings and enhance other local sports facilities. The remaining land and the school buildings will still belong to Wandsworth Council but leased to ARK Schools.

prh47bridge Wed 15-Aug-12 12:54:38

Just to add, the school is due to become an ARK academy in September. According to the consultation document Wandsworth Council has already marketed the land and received bids.

The building project that will be funded by this sale will be carried out by Wandsworth Council using their BSF contractor, Lend Lease.

flexybex Wed 15-Aug-12 16:37:30

What are Wandsworth council going to use the land for? Housing development?

EdithWeston Wed 15-Aug-12 16:43:43

What the land will be used for will depend on the purchaser. Might the Wandsworth Borough website say what it is zoned for.

According to the Guardian, "any money raised will be spent on improving the school and building a new sports hall, gym and an all-weather pitch"

prh47bridge Wed 15-Aug-12 18:18:38

According to the consultation document the Council anticipate that the land will be bought for residential development but they do not appear to be stipulating that use. As EdithWeston says, ultimately it is up to the purchaser provided they can get planning permission.

The consultation document is available here.

flexybex Wed 15-Aug-12 20:52:27

Could you clarify please?

The fact is that a lot of land at Eliot School is being sold (it looks like most of the usable playing fields):

Q1. Who actually owns it?
Q2. Who is actually selling it?
Q3. Who gets the money from the proceeds? You say that the council get the money - how does this get fed into the school for redevelopment? I thought academy schools are free of council control?
Q4. Who decides about what is going to happen to the site?

Could you explain simply, ph47bridge? From beginning of the transaction to the end?


flexybex Wed 15-Aug-12 20:53:31

P.S. I have since heard that councils are holding on to school land on a peppercorn rent - is this true and what does this actually mean? What are the implications?

flexybex Wed 15-Aug-12 20:54:32

Oh, and Q5. Who is buying the land?

I am mighty confused now.

prh47bridge Wed 15-Aug-12 23:28:31

It is really very simple.

Q1 The land is owned by Wandsworth Council. From September it will be leased to ARK Schools but it will continue to be owned by Wandsworth Council.

Q2 The land will be sold by Wandsworth Council. As they own it, nobody else can sell it.

Q3 Wandsworth Council will get the money from the sale. Again, as they own the land nobody else can receive payment for it. The money does not get fed directly into the school for redevelopment. The Council will pay independent contractors to carry out the work. The land and buildings belong to the Council so, as landlord, they are entitled to carry out work, although they are clearly working with the school to decide what work will be done (exactly as would happen with an LA-controlled school). The school will not receive any money, either directly or indirectly, as a result of the sale.

Q4 If you mean who decides what is going to happen to the land that is sold, that decision is for the purchaser. They can do whatever they want with the land provided they can get planning permission. Wandsworth Council expect that a purchaser will want to build housing (and presumably are willing to grant planning permission for an appropriate scheme) but the purchaser may have other plans.

Q5 No idea. The council have received some bids but, as far as I can tell, have not yet selected a buyer.

The land used by academies is leased to them for 125 years for a peppercorn rent. That means they pay the LA a trivial sum each year for use of the land (I'm not sure of the exact amount but £1 per annum is common for peppercorn rents in other contexts). Remember that prior to conversion the school would have paid the LA nothing at all for use of land, so this leaves the school and the LA in the same position as they would have been had the school remained in LA control. It also ensures that the land remains the property of the LA. If the academy paid no rent at all it could claim "adverse possession", which would allow them to take ownership of the land without paying for it. Charging a peppercorn rent ensures that cannot happen.

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