Chair of Star Academies joins DfE's Falcon Trust for 'orphan' schools

A second chair of trustees at a leading academy trust has joined a new chain set up by the government to take over schools that no-one wants.

Schools Week revealed last month that David Earnshaw, chair of the Outwood Grange Academies Trust, would be chairing the Falcon Education Academies Trust.

The specialist academy trust will take on “orphan schools” in the north of England.

The trust has now appointed Kamruddin Kothia, chair of trustees at Star Academies, as a director.

As well as being chair of trustees at Star, Kothia is also the deputy lieutenant of Lancashire, a role which involves helping the lord lieutenant carry out duties as representative of the Queen.

A spokesperson for Star said the trust “often works with other education partners” to help improve education and is “honoured” that Kothia will be “among those from a number of providers working with the new trust.”

Geoffrey Davies, a corporate lawyer with Keystone Law, has also been appointed as a director at Falcon. He is also a trustee of the New Schools Network and previously spent eight years as a trustee at the United Learning academy trust.

Last month, a spokesperson for the DfE said the new trust will be “expected” to take on the most challenging schools by “offering a route into a strong academy trust that allows school improvement to begin immediately”.

Gavin Williamson, the education secretary, announced plans for the pilot at the start of September.

Schools Week revealed last year how failing schools are being left in limbo as a result of complex legal issues, with one now waiting eight years to become an academy.

The DfE has been forced to hand millions to academy trusts to persuade them to take on schools abandoned or handed over by their previous sponsors.

Earnshaw is one of three controlling “members” of the new trust, along with Felicity Gillespie, a former adviser to the Department for Education and director of early years investment fund Aurora and Thomas Attwood, a trustee of the T4 academy trust and a former trustee of The Kemnal Academies Trust.

Other directors announced include Christopher Dalzell, an OGAT trustee, and Sarah Brown.