Chapel Street Community Schools Trust (CSCST), one of the earliest trusts to open a free school, is to give up its academies, Warwick Mansell reports.
Atherton Community School, CSCST’s first free school, opened in 2012 in Wigan. The trust grew rapidly: three more free schools and two sponsored academies joined within two years. Another free school, Kingston Community School, opened in 2015. It is still in temporary buildings.
One of CSCST’s free schools, Burnley High School, was assessed as posing a high risk to nearby Hameldon Community College. Hameldon closed in August 2019 - the local MP blamed the establishment of the free school. Hameldon’s PFI premises costing £22m threaten to be a financial burden to the council if they remain empty. The closed school is presently used as a temporary site for Rhyddings Business and Enterprise School while essential remedial work takes place at Rhyddings’ Oswaldtwistle site.
CSCST was issued with a Financial Notice to Improve in 2016 which has not been lifted. The trust has missed the deadline for submitting its annual accounts to the Department for Education for the second year running.
The trust still appears on the DfE’s most recent list of academy sponsors.