£1.5m loss fears over Wakefield City Academies Trust demise

Around 20 children were taken home by their parents
Around 20 children were taken home by their parents
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THREE of Wakefield’s schools could lose a total of more 
than £1.5m after the demise of an academy chain, members of Wakefield Council have warned.

A motion, due to be discussed by councillors today, claims Wakefield City Academies Trust (WCAT) had transferred millions of pounds of schools’ savings into its own centralised account, prior to its collapse.

WCAT made a shock announcement in September that it would cease running all 21 of its schools, including eight in the Wakefield district.

The trust’s board said it didn’t have the capacity to bring about rapid improvement in the academies.

A motion submitted to a meeting of the full council today said that Hemsworth Arts and Community Academy faced losing £436,000 of its reserves, Wakefield City Academy could lose nearly £800,000 and Heath View primary £300,000.

It said: “Council believes that the actions of the Department for Education (DfE) and its agents have undermined educational provision in the district, and local children have been severely let down.”

Councillors are due to vote on whether or not to agree the motion today.

If approved, the council will demand the “full restitution” of money transferred from school reserves. It will argue that the trust should not dissolve until its affairs have been fully investigated and the results made public. And it will call for the DfE to put financial resources and educational expertise into the trust in the meantime.

Earlier this month education minister Nick Gibb said the trust would not be able to retain any of its reserves once it had formally been dissolved. A Department for Education spokesman said: “A failing academy trust must never profit from the re-brokerage of its schools.”