The first thing that surprised me about the Russell Education Trust - who are the official partners for the Bristol Free School which is due to open in September 2011 - is that, despite their name, they are not in fact a charitable trust.
Having worked in the charitable sector myself for twenty years, I thought I had a reasonable grasp of at least some of the specific language and terminology associated with charitable trusts. Clearly, my knowledge was incomplete.
The Russell Education Trust are a private limited company, created as recently as November 2010. Under government rules, a company can use the word "trust" instead of the more commercially-sounding "limited" in its name if the following conditions are met:
- the company must be a private company limited by guarantee
- the objectives of the company must include the "promotion or regulation of commerce, art, science, education, religion, charity or any profession."
- company members cannot receive dividends from the company (though they can receive salaries)
The company's official address is
1st Floor James House
Interested parents might wish to take note of that address. As we shall see, it crops up more than once in connection with privately-owned education companies/trusts in recent years.
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