Staff at a failing school in Cumbria have signed an open letter demanding that the school be removed from its sponsor, as local campaigners prepare for a crunch meeting later this week.
Teachers at Whitehaven Academy have been left “broken” by the way the Bright Tribe academy trust has run the school, and want action to stop it from closing.
A community meeting is now scheduled for Thursday to discuss whether Bright Tribe can be forced to relinquish control. At present, academies cannot remove themselves from a sponsor but a sponsor can choose to hand over an academy to another trust. Staff claim they have been told they will be sacked if they attend the meeting, but Bright Tribe has denied this.
Bright Tribe took control of the school in January 2014. By October 2016, it was in special measures.
In their letter, staff say that two thirds of the school site is now so dilapidated it has had to be closed. The remaining third is described as having “declined to the extent that the slightest rainfall means that large areas of the building we are in are out of action”.
Whitehaven Academy ‘destroying futures’, pupils claim
Pupils say problems at their school have become so bad their “futures are being destroyed”.
Whitehaven Academy in Cumbria, which is now in special measures, has had six head teachers since the Bright Tribe Trust took it over in 2014.
Teachers have also expressed concerns, and taken strike action, over standards and the “unsafe” state of the building.
Bright Tribe said problems stemmed from a lack of investment before it took over and improvements were under way.
The student body wrote a letter calling for the removal of Bright Tribe.
Boss of Bright Tribe leaves
Chief operating officer of Bright Tribe, Mary McKeeman, has left her post
The chief operating officer of the embattled Bright Tribe Trust has left her post.
Mary McKeeman’s profile on the multi-academy trust’s website was removed this morning. Heidi Hoskin, the director of primary education, is now listed as the interim COO.
In a statement, the trust said: “Mary McKeeman left her position as COO of Bright Tribe Trust on 28 November 2017.
“Heidi Hoskin – former director of primary education for the Bright Tribe and Adventure Learning Academy Trusts, who sat on the executive leadership team and directly supported regional executive principals and academies to drive forward school improvement – has been appointed interim COO.”
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