Trust in £1m debt quits running two schools in South Gloucestershire

Staff on strike outside Winterbourne International Academy
Image caption Staff at the Winterbourne International Academy went on strike last year after being accused of being lazy by their head

Two troubled academy schools in South Gloucestershire are set to be taken over, after the trust which runs them racked up debts of more than £1m.

The Ridings' Federation of Academies runs Winterbourne International and Yate International academies.

In a letter to parents, its trustees have announced plans to transfer the running of both schools to another academy chain by next September.

Chief executive principal Adam Williams has stepped down with immediate effect.

'No improvement'

According to the board, three multi-academy trusts - Greenshaw Learning Trust, Oasis and a third which has not been named - have expressed an interest.

The move also comes after an Ofsted inspection at Winterbourne found "no improvement" in teaching standards since the previous inspection.

In a letter to parents, chair of trustees Claire Emery said it had concluded that retaining the schools and looking at cost-saving measures "would take too long"

She said it was in "everyone's interest" that the federation could "secure rapid and sustained improvement for the benefit of our students".

Winterbourne was hit by a series of strikes in 2015 after teachers claimed they were called "lazy and unprofessional" by the then chief executive principal, Beverley Martin.

The most recent accounts by the Ridings' Federation of Academies filed to Companies House in August 2015 showed a £1.7m deficit, and £900,000 in 2014.

In September Ms Emery said the Trust expected to be in deficit again this year. The BBC understands the figure was projected to be about £1m.

No reason has been given for the deficit, but accounts point out falling pupil numbers at Winterbourne Academy and a surplus of secondary places in the Yate area.

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