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Press releases 2006 -

OFT names further trustees as part of the independent schools settlement

182/06    21 December 2006

The OFT is today announcing the appointment of Professor Eeva Leinonen, Ian McCulloch and Michael Parkhouse as trustees of the educational charitable trust established as a result of its investigation into information sharing amongst independent schools. These appointments are in addition to the earlier appointments of Tim Head FCA and Nigel Matthews OBE as initial trustees of the trust.

Eeva Leinonen is Deputy Vice Chancellor and Professor of Psycholinguistics at the University of Hertfordshire, with responsibility for the recruitment, induction and retention of students at the University, as well as for student conduct, relations with the Students' Union and graduate employability. Eeva is also a company director and Chairman of UH Health and UH Hospitality, an independent director of Herts and Beds E-Learning Partnership and a board member of Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Postgraduate Medical School.

Ian McCulloch is a solicitor and Senior Partner of Bircham Dyson Bell, whose specialisms include charity law. Ian is also the chairman of the Society for the Relief of Distress, a grant-making charity for the relief of poverty in London, and a trustee of another charitable trust. He is also a parent of a pupil who attended one of the schools concerned during the relevant period.

Michael Parkhouse is a former teacher and school inspector, and is currently Senior Assistant Secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) with responsibility for national and international programmes of training, consultancy and conferences for school leaders and others. Michael has taught at a number of secondary schools, including as Head of Department, and has served as a school inspector in the London Borough of Sutton, as senior inspector and head of training services at Surrey County Council and as training and development officer of the NAHT.

The appointment of Professor Leinonen and Messrs McCulloch and Parkhouse as additional trustees follows consultation with the Charity Commission and those who paid fees to the schools during the relevant period.

NOTES

1. The OFT issued a statement of objections in its Competition Act 1998 investigation in November 2005 (see press release 214/05).

2. Following discussions with a steering group chaired by the Independent Schools Council (ISC), the OFT announced in May 2006 that it had agreed a resolution of its investigation (see press release 88/06). Under the terms of the settlement, each of the fifty schools concerned admitted that its participation in the exchange of sensitive information through the 'Sevenoaks Survey' involved a distortion of competition and infringed competition law. Each school will pay a nominal penalty of £10,000 which will be collected by the OFT on behalf of the Treasury. The schools did not, however, make any admission that the agreement had any effect upon fees.

3. The schools concerned are: Ampleforth College, Bedford School, Benenden School, Bradfield College, Bromsgrove School, Bryanston School, Canford School, Charterhouse School, Cheltenham College, Cheltenham Ladies College, Clifton College, Cranleigh School, Dauntsey's School, Downe House School, Eastbourne College, Epsom College, Eton College, Gresham's School, Haileybury, Harrow School, King's School Canterbury, Lancing College, Malvern College, Marlborough College, Millfield School, Mill Hill School, Oakham School, Oundle School, Radley College, Repton School, Royal Hospital School, Rugby School, St Edward's School, Oxford, St Leonards-Mayfield School, Sedbergh School, Sevenoaks School, Sherborne School, Shrewsbury School, Stowe School, Strathallan School, Tonbridge School, Truro School, Uppingham School, Wellington College, Wells Cathedral School, Westminster School, Winchester College, Woldingham School, Worth School and Wycombe Abbey. The participation of two of the schools in the infringement (Sedbergh School and Truro School) was limited to two of the three relevant academic years; 2002-03 and 2003-04 in the case of Sedbergh School and 2001-02 and 2003-04 in the case of Truro School.

4. As part of the agreed resolution, the schools also agreed to make ex-gratia payments totalling three million pounds into a trust designed to benefit pupils who attended the schools during the period in respect of which fee information was shared. Under the terms of the resolution, the trust is to be administered by trustees appointed by the Chairman of the OFT, Philip Collins, following consultation with the Charity Commission and those who paid fees to the schools during the relevant period.

5. The trust is independent of the schools and of the OFT. Schools will make equal annual instalment payments into the trust starting in 2006 with the last payment no later than 31 December 2010.
 
6. The OFT announced the appointment of Tim Head and Nigel Matthews as initial trustees on 22 November 2006 (see press release 165/06). At the same time the OFT started its consultation on the proposed appointment of Professor Eeva Leinonen and Messrs McCulloch and Parkhouse as additional trustees.

7. The appointment of Messrs Head and Matthews as initial trustees was also the subject of a similar consultation process that was started on 28 September 2006 (see press release 139/06). At the same time, the OFT invited nominations of suitable candidates for appointment as additional trustees.

8. The OFT announced a final, formal decision recording the competition law infringement admitted by each school as part of the agreed resolution on 23 November 2006 (see press release 166/06).

9. The full text of the decision is available on the CA98 Public Register.




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