New sponsor found for academy after CfBT Schools Trust walked away

A school left without a sponsor after an academy chain announced plans to walk away because it could not drive “rapid enough” improvement has found a new trust to take it over.

Schools Week revealed last month that the CfBT Schools Trust was to pull out of running three failing schools – so trusts more local to the schools could take over.

The intention was to relinquish control in the summer and new trusts were already lined up to takeover two of the schools – Danum Academy, in Doncaster, and Sir John Gleed School, in Lincolnshire.

Talks were still ongoing to find a new sponsor for Ely College, in Cambridgeshire. But, it was announced yesterday the academy will join the Cambridge Meridian Academies Trust (CMAT).

The trust runs six schools in and around the county.

Shirley Jamieson, CMAT chair, said: “CMAT exists to provide high-quality and dynamic education for everyone, in the heart of their communities.

“This clear vision is the focus of everything we do. We don’t have a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach, and we will be talking to pupils and their families, teachers and the local community about how we move the college forward, quickly and inclusively. Our local knowledge and breadth of experience will help us add value to the foundations already in place.”

CfBT Schools Trust said walking away from the schools gave them the “best chance for success”. It said the move was a consequence of growing too quickly in its early days and their geographical isolation meant the trust could not drive quick enough improvement.

CfBT chief executive Chris Tweedale said: “The decision to transfer Ely College was not an easy one, but we feel it represents the best opportunity for the future success of the school and all of its students.

“We have had to recognise that Ely’s long distance from the rest of our schools is a real barrier to providing the level of support the school needs and, as we have no future plans to expand in the region, this is unlikely to change. The transfer means Ely will get this much needed support on its doorstep, and benefit from tailored, local expertise.”

Parents and staff were informed of the plans yesterday and the transfer will take place on July 1.

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