Struggling school’s finance woes too great a burden

A Staffordshire academy has reportedly pulled out of a takeover deal with a struggling school amid doubts over finances.

St Joseph’s college has claimed the financial risks of taking over nearby Birches Head academy are “too great”.

Birches Head is tied into a 25-year contract to repay the private firm that built its school, dishing out over £380,000 a year.

To help offset costs for St Joseph’s, Stoke Council pledged £1.5 million in additional funding over five years, while Schools Week report the Government has offered funding for Birches Head based on its “expected, and not actual, pupil numbers”.

Yet, even with the supplementary funds, St Joseph’s could not take the pecuniary risk.

Privately financed schools are sometimes proving a road block for the Government’s all-inclusive academy scheme, with sponsors wary of taking on “unattractive” schools.

“The financial risks associated with the formation of this multi-academy trust were too great, even though the city council had approved an unprecedented generous grant for five years,” said a spokesperson for St Joseph’s.

“It is difficult when balancing the financial challenges with the educational needs of a child. We considered all of the information fully in making this tough decision, but feel that it was necessary in these circumstances”.

The academy was already providing essential support to struggling Birches Head, which Ofsted rated inadequate in 2014.

Leave a Reply