Wakefield City Academies Trust ‘took £276k from school cash’

Philip Davies.
Philip Davies.
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A troubled chain of academies has been accused by an MP of taking £276,000 from one of its primary schools without consent.

The claim from Tory MP Philip Davies came as shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner suggested ministers were hiding from embarrassment by not publishing a report into Wakefield City Academies Trust (WCAT) – which said it would give up all of its 21 schools in September, a few days into the new term.

Shipley MP Mr Davies told MPs at education questions: “The Minister will be aware that due to the Wakefield trust imposing a spending moratorium on High Crags school in my constituency, they built up a surplus, a balance, of £276,000.

“That has in recent days been transferred out of the school account without the authorisation of the school, without the prior consent of the school, and transferred over to the trust.

“Now surely the Government can’t stand aside and allow £276,000 to be taken out of that school’s budget, in one of the most deprived areas of my constituency.”

Education Minister Nick Gibb said he was right to raise the issue, adding that High Crags had been put into special measures in June 2015, before it became a sponsored academy.

He added: “The school is now being re-brokered to be supported by the highly successful Tauheedul Education Trust.

“The former trust, WCAT, will not be able to retain any of the reserves it holds at the point of dissolution.”

The Department for Education said: “A failing academy trust must never profit from the re-brokerage of its schools.

“It is working with preferred trusts and schools to ensure they have the support and resources to improve outcomes for pupils quickly, including necessary pupil funding.”