Bright Tribe was paid to convert Haydon Bridge High School in Northumberland to an academy, but abandoned it last November, blaming the school’s deficit and low pupil numbers. However, the cash was never returned.
The local authority took action this week after the MAT admitted that money it received from the Department for Education to create a ‘northern hub’ had been used for “activities such as due diligence”, rather than to aid school academisation.
Previously unseen board minutes also reveal that Bright Tribe demanded more money to help it take on Haydon Bridge after burning through government northern hub funding totalling £1 million.
Bright Tribe announced plans to ditch all but one of its schools in the north in February, after a series of failed takeover bids by the trust, which privately blamed local authorities and the DfE for the ‘painfully slow’ process of taking on new schools.
It was lined up as a sponsor of Haydon Bridge in 2015, after the school was rated ‘inadequate’ and placed into special measures by Ofsted.
Read more about Northumberland County Council’s legal battle in Schools Week.