Kathy Kirkham returns to Bright Tribe

Kathy Kirkham has returned to the troubled Bright Tribe trust as a director, almost exactly a year after she resigned as the chain’s chief executive.

Documents filed with Companies House show that Kirkham was appointed to act as a director of the trust on February 8.

She previously resigned from the trust on February 17 last year following a turbulent few months – including a government investigation and the trust pulling out of sponsoring two struggling schools.

A spokesperson said Kirkham “played a valuable role in the establishment of the trust” and that “her extensive experience in the field of education makes her a strong and valuable member of the board”.

It is not known whether Kirkham will assume any other roles at the trust, which has been at the centre of a row over its running of schools in the north of England.

Earlier this month, it was revealed that Bright Tribe plans to relinquish all but one of its northern schools, following extensive criticism that focused on the trust’s involvement in the Whitehaven Academy in Cumbria.

Matters involving the trust came to a head last November, when Bright Tribe’s chief executive officer, Mary McKeeman, who replaced Kirkham when she left last year, also resigned after just six months, and the chain announced plans to give up Whitehaven following a protracted battle with parents and staff over the future of the secondary school.

It has also emerged that Kirkham was also re-appointed as a director of the Adventure Learning Academy Trust, another chain founded and sponsored by Bright Tribe founder Michael Dwan and his Helping Hands Trust charity, on February 8. She had resigned from ALAT, which runs five schools in Cornwall, last February at the same time as she left Bright Tribe.