Pupils and parents at 12 schools through Swindon and Wiltshire have been left in uncertainty as the organisation which runs their schools has announced it is to stop.

The Diocese of Bristol Academy Trust runs seven schools in Swindon, four in or near Chippenham and one in Great Somerford.

But in an email to parents on Friday, the Trust's chair of trustees Nigel Daniel confirmed the organisation will stop running all of its schools.

It comes after the Department for Education said it was going to strip the Trust of its ability to run the Deanery Academy in Wichelstowe, Swindon, after the £25 million school received an inadequate Ofsted rating.

The schools it runs will be found another trust to take them over – but it may be different trusts for different schools.

There is no timeline for when this will happen.

The email from Mr Daniel said: “In September 2023, the Deanery received a Special Measures judgement from Ofsted. This led to a Termination Warning Notice being issued to DBAT from the Department for Education, which advised that they were minded to re-broker the Deanery to another multi-academy trust.  

“The DfE have now confirmed that the Deanery will be re-brokered to another multi-academy trust. We are sorry that this is the result, and we remain committed to ensuring the strong progress made in the school over recent months carries on, at pace, as we work with the trust that will take the Deanery into their family of schools.

“DBAT Trustees have taken the decision that Kingfisher should transfer with the Deanery, to the new trust, protecting the campus model that the schools work within, and the benefits and opportunities that this brings. The DfE have confirmed their agreement to this.

 “As a result of the inevitable changes to the financing of the trust as a result, and after a detailed review of how we could continue to support our remaining schools, the Trustees have also reached the decision to start the process to transfer all DBAT schools to other multi-academy trusts and cease the operation of DBAT. 

“This decision has not been taken lightly but has been taken with children at the heart of it. Trustees are united in the view that this decision will allow each of our schools to be in a family of schools where there is greater levels of resource, and capacity, available to support them.

“The DfE have not yet formally confirmed their agreement.   

The email concludes: “At this stage, a new trust/trusts have not been confirmed and we cannot provide a timetable for the transfer of schools.

"We anticipate that this will develop at pace throughout the remainder of this academic year and we will ensure that you are provided with regular updates. The transfer is not expected to result in any changes to your school staff structure. “ 

In Swindon, the trust runs The Deanery CofE Academy, Kingfisher CE Academy, Lydiard Millicent CE Academy, St Leonard’s CE Academy, South Marston Cof E School, Tadpole Farm CE Primary School and Ridgeway Farm CE Academy.

It also runs St Peter’s CofE Academy in Chippenham, Christian Malford CofE Primary School, Sutton Benger CofE Primary School, Seagry CE Primary School and Somerford’s Walter Powell CofE Primary School in Great Somerford.

DBAT was also given planning permission just weeks ago for the school it was going to run in the Redlands New Eastern Village, on the edge of Swindon.

That planning permission remains valid, and whichever organisation decides to take on the school will not have to make any further application.

But it is uncertain, at this point, what will happen regarding the school.

The Local Democracy Reporter has contacted the DfE, DBAT, The Deanery Academy and Swindon Borough Council for further information.