The ex-president of the National Union of Teachers has warned that the education of children is too important to be entrusted to organisations that “can just walk away” after a Wakefield academy chain revealed it is is to offload all 21 of its schools.
The Government’s academisation programme has faced stinging criticism following the shock announcement from Wakefield City Academies Trust (WCAT) on Friday.
Anne Swift said it was “astonishing” that the Department for Education has promoted a policy which can result in such a situation developing.
She told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “The education of our children is too important to be entrusted to organisations that can just walk away in this manner.
“Unfortunately this is not an isolated example and people may be shocked to realise that their local authority no longer has any powers to intervene when they see schools which need support.
“In the UK, England is unique in handing over the running of schools to trusts and sponsors without democratic oversight. It’s time the Government recognised that the academisation of schools is a failed policy unable to deliver a quality education for all pupils.”
Just one week into the new academic year, staff, parents and students are now facing uncertainty following the shock announcement from WCAT last week.
A statement from the trust’s board said that after a “robust period of review and evaluation of all aspects of the organisation”, it had “requested that the Department for Education (DfE) work with [the board] to place our academies with new sponsors”. A new board was appointed in July 2016 to address “significant challenges” faced by the trust.