Essex

Troubled TBAP academy trust to offload two schools

TBAP Aspire Academy
Image caption The TBAP Aspire AO Academy has been rated inadequate by inspectors

An academy trust is to offload two of its schools to "consolidate resources".

Aspire AP Academy, in Harlow, Essex, and New Horizons AP Academy in Warrington, Lancashire, will be rebrokered.

TBAP Academy Trust, which offers alternative provision for children outside mainstream education, has had funding problems and been criticised for its running of Aspire.

It said "education and welfare of learners remained its top priority".

Aspire head teacher Deb Garfield previously told the BBC the school had received thousands of pounds worth of late payment notices and the school reopened late in September after building work overran.

Harlow MP Robert Halfon had called for TBAP to be removed from running Aspire, which was rated inadequate by Ofsted after inspectors raised safeguarding as an issue.

'Top priority'

In a statement TBAP said that due to its "historic challenges" it would "consolidate resources" at its London and Cambridgeshire academies, to "enable the trust to focus on producing optimal outcomes for its learners".

The trust said: "This has been a difficult decision, but the trust believes the transfers are in the best long-term interests of all learners and staff.

"During the process, the education and welfare of learners, as well as the needs of staff, will remain our top priority."

Tim Roberts, of union Unison which represents support staff at Aspire, said there had not been enough staff and that bills had not been paid.

He said: "There's been some significant funding cuts imposed and that's had a significant health and safety issue, there clearly have not been enough staff to manage that school appropriately.

"We are talking about some very vulnerable young people and they should be in a school which supports their learning and actually both the staff and pupils have been put at risk in recent months."

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