University Church Free School to join North West Academies Trust

North West Academies Trust has been chosen to take over the running of a primary school in Chester.

The Department for Education has started the process of transferring University Church Free School (UCFS) to the Chester-based trust.

The city-centre primary, opposite Grosvenor Park, had been managed by the University of Chester Academies Trust (UCAT) since opening in 2013.

The UCAT-founded school was rated ‘good’ by Ofsted during its first inspection in 2015, but the Trust has run into financial problems.

It is the third UCAT school to be handed to North West Academies Trust (NWAT).

CEO Steve Docking said: “We are delighted to have the opportunity to provide children with the best possible education.

“We have a strong track record in improving schools, and it is really important to us that our schools are the best they can be.

“We ensure they are forward thinking, adopt the highest possible standards and open children’s eyes to a world of possibility.

“We will make sure these schools become centres of excellence and are the first choice for parents who want the best education for their children.”

In November, NWAT will take over management of UCAN (University of Chester Academy Northwich) and UPAW (University Primary Academy Weaverham).

One of the country’s highest-performing trusts, it has an impressive record of improving schools and getting results.

NWAT currently operates four schools across Cheshire and Shropshire, with another free school in the pre-opening phase.

Delamere Academy, near Northwich, was recently named one of the top 10 non-fee paying primary schools in the country by Tatler magazine, for consistently featuring in the top 1% of schools in Government’s School Performance Tables.

In the latest Government tables, Oak View Academy, in Winsford, was named as the most improved primary in Cheshire West and Chester for progress in reading.

St Martin’s Academy, in Chester, was rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted within a year of opening in 2013. It is currently the most over-subscribed school in Cheshire.

Ellesmere Primary School, in Shropshire, has been making progress in all areas since joining NWAT in 2016.