BRADFORD College Education Trust (BCET) has announced its intention to transfer Appleton Academy and Samuel Lister Academy to new sponsors.

Appleton Academy is set to join Exceed Academies Trust, a Bradford-based trust that has three local primary schools, a nursery and children’s centre, in its trust.

Oasis Community Learning, a nationally recognised multi-academy trust has been identified as the potential new sponsor for Samuel Lister Academy.

Richard Wightman, chairman of BCET, said: “It is the belief of everyone involved in this decision that while it has been difficult and painful to make, it is the correct decision for the academies in supporting them on their school improvement journey.”

All parties are working towards the transfers being completed by the next academic year.

Mr Wightman added: "“During the period of time that the college has sponsored the two academies there have been many successes. At times, both have had some of the best results in the Bradford district and been recognised nationally for their rapid improvement. The primary provision at Appleton Academy was recently recognised by Ofsted as ‘outstanding’. Both academies have also had brand new state-of-the-art buildings and facilities.

“However, the educational context has significantly changed since the college first became a sponsor and the many areas of expertise and good practice the College was able to offer at the start of its sponsorship such as vocational education and preparation for employment, have significantly less time in the present day secondary curriculum. It is also clear that, in the current and future financial context for schools, a small multi-academy trust will find it very difficult to keep providing the necessary resources for school improvement.”

Andy Welsh, chief executive officer of the Bradford College Group, said: “This was a very tough decision but one made in the best interests of all concerned. Bradford College looks forward to continuing to work closely with both academies and with the new sponsors in their areas of success and expertise.”

Duncan Jacques, CEO of Exceed Academies Trust, said: “We are very excited to sponsor Appleton Academy. We believe our organisation will add value to existing practice and that we can support the already improving Appleton Academy to become a 'good' school that the community can be proud of. The process of transfer is just beginning and we will keep all stakeholders informed of the progress. We look forward to meeting pupils, parents, staff and governors during this period of transition.”

John Murphy, CEO of Oasis Community Learning said: “We are a fully inclusive multi-academy trust, dedicated to raising our young people’s aspirations and enabling them to achieve their full potential.”

“We are proud to have been serving the young people of Bradford for the past three and a half years at Oasis Academy Lister Park and therefore we know Samuel Lister Academy well. We are excited about the opportunity to work with the Academy’s students and staff and we are currently undertaking our due diligence process - any new partnership must be the right choice for both Samuel Lister Academy and Oasis.”

“We have the expertise and capacity to immediately and sustainably deliver improvements. Over three quarters of our academies are sponsored, and since 2014 the proportion of our academies that have been rated ‘’Good’ or ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted has climbed from 30 per cent to 75 per cent. We are keen to press ahead with our discussions with Samuel Lister Academy about our involvement.”

Parents and staff at the academies were informed of the proposals via letters on Friday. A series of meetings are also planned with BCET representatives and the new sponsors.