Perry Beeches Academy Trust closes after schools move to new sponsors

The crisis-hit Perry Beeches Academy Trust has officially been wound up, after its five schools were rebrokered to new sponsors.

The transfer of four academies to the CORE Education trust and one to Ark trust, marks the end of the Birmingham trust, which is the subject of a government investigation into financial irregularities from almost two years ago.

Schools Week revealed the names of the new sponsors last July, but the rebrokering has only just been signed off by the academies minister Lord Agnew.

Now CORE, which was set up to take on two of the Birmingham schools enveloped in the Trojan Horse scandal, will take on Perry Beeches The Academy, Perry Beeches II, Perry Beeches III and Perry Beeches IV.

The schools have been renamed as Arena Academy, City Academy, City Academy Birmingham and Jewellery Quarter Academy.

Meanwhile, Perry Beeches V, an all-through school, will become the Ark Victoria Academy, named after its new sponsor and a nearby park.

Pam Garrington, the chair of trustees at Perry Beeches academy trust said the rebrokerage of the five academies gave staff and pupils “the clarity they need” over the schools’ futures.

She said she was confident the new trusts would provide the schools with “secure and exciting futures”.

The transfer brings to a close a long period of uncertainty, after a government investigation found it had funnelled £1.3 million to a private company owned by its accounting officer and “superhead” Liam Nolan without following proper procedures.

The investigation was embarrassing for the government. David Cameron had opened one of the schools, and ministers heaped praise on Nolan, who, it was also revealed, had received a second salary of £160,000 over two years, on top of the £120,000 he got as head.

Nolan resigned in May 2016, and the governing board subsequently stood down, replaced with an interim executive board by the government. Talks with new sponsors then dragged on for more than a year.

The CORE Education trust was set up to take on two schools caught up in the so-called Trojan Horse scandal, a plot by religious extremists to take over schools in Birmingham. One of them was Park View academy, now called Rockwood academy, which was said to be at the heart of the scandal, and which came out of special measures under CORE’s leadership in 2016.

Adrian Packer, CORE’s chief executive, was initially tasked with turning around Perry Beeches as its new chair in July 2016, and will now run the schools as part of his own trust.

Ark currently has 35 schools, five of which are in Birmingham. 84 per cent of the trust’s schools are rated ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’.

Your thoughts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


  1. So what happened to Liam Nolan? It was reported in the summer that he had a one-year contract to be principal of Ruth Gorse Academy, Leeds. The DfE School Performance Table lists him as principal but the DfE’s GetInformationAboutSchools says the principal is David Craine. And there’s no mention of Nolan in the staff list on Ruth Gorse’s website where the principal is named as Mrs R Taylor (on maternity leave, I believe) and the associate principal is Mr Craine.

    • Just answered my own question. According to SchoolDash, Nolan was replaced as principal of Ruth Gorse by David Craine in December 2017. I’ve found a letter dated Nov 13 2017 on Ruth Gorse’s website which says:

      ‘As you will be aware, we made the decision to bring Mr Nolan into the academy as a Consultant Principal from September 2017, originally for the time period of 12 months whilst Mrs Taylor was on maternity leave. Through mutual agreement between ourselves and Mr Nolan, this period has been shortened to 3 months and has now come to an end.’

      So what caused this about turn?

      Letter downloadable here:

  2. At a time when schools are facing cuts in income when inflation is taken into account – leading to staff cuts – let us look at where money is being mis-spent – again and again in the academies business:
    Nov-14 Perry Beeches £120k head wants more pay
    Jul-15 Perry Beeches Perry Beeches III “Inadequate” – praised by Cameron
    Jul-15 Perry Beeches Perry Beeches VI Opening delayed 1 year
    Mar-16 Perry Beeches superhead’ on £120k pays himself £1.3 million
    Mar-16 Perry Beeches Head teacher employs nephew and niece
    Mar-16 Perry Beeches over claimed for FSM to pay back £100k
    Oct-16 Perry Beeches £2.1m deficit
    And that is just up to Oct 2016!

  3. Rees Fowler

    It’s kind of crazy just how long this scandal went on for. It’s also really weird looking back to when I was a student (class of 2015 at the original Academy – the class that was practically all over the news before all of the stuff with Liam came out), because when I do, I can now note all of the pitfalls and issues that began to arise shortly before we left – I just never noticed it at the time.

    It’s really a shame. The Trust genuinely had a lot of potential, and the schools (speaking from my own experiences) started to get a lot better once the publicity began rolling in. Better funding, better student support, improved curriculum methodology… It was pretty insane when we all heard rumors of Liam’s misconduct, though admittedly not very surprising, given the previous scandals he was involved in.