Nine Bright Tribe academies transferred to new trusts: cost to taxpayer £290k

Janet Downs's picture

Nine academies run by notorious academy trust Bright Tribe were transferred to new trusts in the financial year 2018/19, Department for Education data shows.  

Three primary academies were transferred to Asset Education on 1 March 2019.  No transfer fees were paid.

Waveney Valley Academies Trust took on Alde Valley School.  Again, no transfer fees were paid.

Colchester Academy was transferred to South Suffolk Learning Trust which received no grant funding. 

Wise Academies took over two Bright Tribe schools last September.  It received £115k in grant funding (aka transfer fees) for Haltwhistle Middle Academy (former Haltwhistle Upper School Academy)

£25k was paid to The Pinnacle Learning Trust when Werneth Primary School was transferred while Cumbria Education Trust received £150k for taking over Whitehaven Academy.

Whitehaven Academy and Colchester Academy both featured in the Panorama programme exposing Bright Tribe which was accused of not spending money allocated for repairs in the way intended.  Bright Tribe and its associate trust Adventure Learning Academy Trust (ALAT)  face a possible £1.8m clawback for ‘potential improper use of historic grants’. 

Four years ago, Bright Tribe was named as one of five ‘outstanding’ academy trusts set to receive part of a £10m fund to set up ‘high-performing academy trusts’.  This was despite none of Bright Tribe’s academies ever having been inspected.  It was perhaps premature to declare Bright Tribe to be outstanding.  In retrospect, it appears reckless.

A tenth Bright Tribe academy, Grindon Hall Christian School, a former independent school which became a free school.  Nine months after the troubled school’s operations were transferred to Bright Tribe, the trust announced it would drop it.  Grindon Hall was eventually transferred to Emmanuel Schools Foundation in May 2019 after the last financial year.  The amount of grant funding, if any, will not be known until next year.

Bright Tribe now has no academies. 

ALAT also has no academies.  However, none appear on the academy transfer list.  It’s likely they were not transferred until after the end of the last financial year.  Any transfer fees will be published in July 2020.


Find out what connects environment secretary Michael Gove, a closed Liverpool school and Bright Tribe here. 

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