Liam Byrne the Ex Treasury secretary to Gordon Brown once wrote in an infamous note when leaving office, this note read as follows
This letter sprang to mind today when I sat to detail the events back in November 2018 when the financial crisis engulfed Abbots Bromley School.
The incompetence which has led us to this stage has been staggering; however, things were worse than many of us could have anticipated, we were astounded to find out how bad things had become.
It was the day in which the staff’s wages were due to be paid and a frantic member of staff alerted the governors that there was no money in the bank to pay the staff for that month and were already in the deep red on the 3 Million Pounds bank overdraft and had no access to any bank funding to pay the staff.
Panic set in and the governors discussed the possibility of the Guild trustees who are also governors asking the Guild if they could use the Guild’s funds as a loan to ensure that the payroll could be paid that month.
The possibility of using Guild money was quickly dismissed by the Guild trustees Heather Graham and Pauline Norvall as they had wished to use Guild money to buy another piece of school equipment and the request was not passed to the guild members for review and determine if this is something they could have supported.
Crisis set in and the governors were aware that they could not meet the obligations to staff payroll and were hours away from sudden closure however were able to arrange a last-minute meeting with Woodard who provided an emergency loan, this loan was now a part of an overall £3 Million pound loan made by Woodard to Abbots Bromley School Ltd.
The meeting with Woodard was a tense meeting resulting in the governing body surrendering sole financial control over the school’s finances and the loan resulted in the ability to Abbots Bromley School Ltd to break free from Woodard control and become an independent school as had been the plan prior and a £2 Million pound payment made to allow that to happen.
The payroll issue and the sudden lack of money had serious implications, and this was the sole factor in the closure announcement, the loan provided by Woodard to Abbots Bromley School sealed the death of the school.
Following the loan from Woodard being formalised and arranged by the governing body, you will note that Woodard pressured the governing body to make changes to the structure.
However, the changes in structure were not making someone accountable to the financial problems, and they were not asking for governors to stand down because they were incompetent.
These governors were removed as they did not agree to the closure of Abbots Bromley School and fought Woodard on previous occasions when the closure was mooted, the removal of these governors who cared passionately in Abbots Bromley School severely weakened the governing body and gave Woodard ultimate power in determining the schools future.
Here is the date the directors officially left Abbots Bromley School Ltd