1. ITV Report

Controversial trust to pull out of Whitehaven Academy

Teaching staff strike outside Whitehaven Academy. Photo: ITV Border

The Trust responsible for running a troubled school in west Cumbria is to be replaced, according to the Department for Education.

Teachers at Whitehaven Academy have carried out a series of strikes, to protest against the way the school has been run by Bright Tribe Trust.

Concerns include the state of the school buildings, changes to teachers' pensions, their workload, and their conditions of employment, including pay and pay progression.

The Chief Operating Officer of the Trust resigned this week, and the Department for Education has now confirmed "the process of identifying an alternative" body to run the school is now underway.

I have been working with Bright Tribe Trust, Cumbria County Council and my Headteacher Board to address the challenges at The Whitehaven Academy.

This has included extensive work with the Education and Skills Funding Agency to understand and address the challenges around the building’s condition. Myself and my team have visited the academy and met with school leaders on multiple occasions to provide support and challenge.

However, despite the efforts of the headteacher and his team, it is clear that a new sponsor is required to deliver the improvement needed to ensure pupils get the education they deserve – and the process of identifying an alternative is underway.

My priority is to ensure all pupils receive the best possible education and I will now be working with the Bright Tribe Trust to ensure a smooth transition with minimal disruption for Whitehaven and its students.

– Regional Schools Commissioner for the north of England Janet Renou

Teaching staff at Whitehaven Academy have published an open letter, saying the futures of children at the school are being "ruined".

A public meeting into the Academy's future is taking place at Whitehaven Golf Club this evening.