Trust behind seven Wellingborough and Rushden academies to hand them back to Department of Education

The trust behind seven schools in Wellingborough and Rushden has asked to transfer all of its schools back to the Department of Education.

Olympic Primary School in Wellingborough
Olympic Primary School in Wellingborough

The Education Fellowship Trust runs Wrenn Academy, Olympic Primary, Ruskin Junior and Warwick Primary in Wellingborough, as well as Rushden Community College and Risedene Academy in Rushden and Windmill Academy in Raunds.

It runs 12 schools in total, including two Northampton schools, but today (Friday) it sent letters to all parents and staff informing them of their request to hand all the schools back to the Department for Education.

Chief operating officer of The Education Fellowship Trust, Lizzie Rowe, said: “The Education Fellowship Trust (TEFT) has requested to transfer all of its 12 academies to new sponsors following a review of financial constraints facing the education sector and the misalignment of values with the DfE.

“TEFT’s priority at this time is to ensure a smooth and timely transfer that minimises impact on the pupils, staff, parents and local communities at the schools.”

In total there are about 6,500 pupils in all 12 schools, but a spokesman for the trust was keen to stress that no schools will be closing as a result of the announcement.

The trust will be the first since academies were introduced to hand its schools back to the state, though the reasons are still unclear.

But the Northants Telegraph has asked for clarification of what ‘misalignment of values’ with the Department for Education means.

In April last year, The Education Fellowship received warning letters in regards to seven of its schools in Northamptonshire: Olympic Primary School, Rushden Community College, Ruskin Junior School, Wrenn School and Warwick Primary Academy.

The academy sponsors were sent ‘pre-warning’ letters by the Department for Education stating its schools would be closed and taken over by a new sponsor if standards did not go up.

The academies have been closely monitored over the past year as a result.

At the time the trust was told if it failed, the Department of Education would end the funding agreement.

Parents of children at Wrenn Academy in Wellingborough received a letter from principal Steve Elliott this morning, stating: “The Department for Education released a statement that they would be transferring all twelve schools currently managed by The Education Fellowship, including Wrenn, to new sponsors.

“We have been given no information about who this is likely to be, but have been assured that there will be opportunities for discussion and consultation with the school and parents.

“Students, staff and parents will see no noticeable difference in the day-to-day operation of the school, including public examinations.”