Future of Sunderland school 'secured' after new sponsor is announced

Grindon Hall Christian School.
Grindon Hall Christian School.

Education bosses say the future of a Sunderland school has been secured after a new sponsor was appointed.

The Department for Education has named the Emmanuel Schools Foundation (ESF) as the preferred new sponsor of Grindian Hall Christian School.

Subject to the usual due diligence process, the school will join the ESF multi-academy trust by September.

ESF has run a number of schools in the North of England over the past 30 years.

Grindon Hall will take its total number of schools to six, along with the arrival of Joseph Swan Academy, in Gateshead, to the ESF multi-academy trust (MAT) later this year.

The new school will become ESF’s second ‘all-through’ academy alongside Bede Academy, in Blyth, which takes children from age three to 18, and will join Emmanuel College, in Gateshead, and Trinity Academy, in Thorne, near Doncaster.

ESF leaders say the trust has a long-term commitment to the school and joining the trust will provide it with a stable future.

Grindon Hall in Nookside was thrown into the spotlight in November 2014 when it was placed in special measures by Ofsted and was told to join the Bright Tribe Trust.

Professor Mark Pike, chief executive of Emmanuel Schools Foundation, said: “We are pleased that the Department for Education has named our trust as the preferred sponsor of Grindon Hall.

"The academy has enormous potential as a Christian-ethos school of character for the whole community and we want local families to have confidence in its future.

“The opportunity for families to have their children start in the nursery or the primary years and stay on through their senior years has huge academic benefits, all within a small school with a family atmosphere where character counts.”

Grindon Hall is being rebrokered from its current sponsor, Bright Tribe Trust.

Bright Tribe and its academies have been operating under a new board of trustees and interim executive leadership since late summer.

The identification of ESF as Grindon Hall’s new sponsor means all academies in the Bright Tribe Trust will be transferred to new trusts.

Bright Tribe’s interim chief executive officer, Angela Barry, said: "I am pleased that a new sponsor has been identified for the school.

"This is an exciting new chapter for them under a new multi-academy trust which will provide the pupils, parents and staff with the support, expertise, stability and high-quality education that they deserve.”