DfE contributed to collapse of failed Wakefield academy trust, said its members

Janet Downs's picture
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The Department for Education (DfE) ‘must take ownership of blame in contributing to the historical problems that had brought about the current position of the Trust’, said Members at an Extraordinary Board Meeting of Wakefield City Academies Trust (WCAT) on 15 June 2017.  

It’s unclear how the DfE contributed to ‘historical problems’ at WCAT.    But WCAT’s Chair admitted the Trust had grown too fast.  This is becoming a familiar theme – other MATs have taken on too many schools too rapidly: E-Act, AET, CfBT, TKAT, for example. 

The DfE must shoulder responsibility for allowing trusts to expand too quickly especially when, as is the case with WCAT, the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) allowed WCAT to take on more academies in 2016 after it had identified problems at the Trust before June 2015.

WCAT’s interim CEO, Chris Pickering, presented a document which ‘confirmed that students within WCAT Academies were being let down, despite progress being possible and outcomes not reflecting this…most of the WCAT Academies were letting students down…WCAT was unsustainable and outcomes were not achievable.’

The Minutes of earlier meetings in 2017 (downloadable here ) show WCAT had considered rebrokering some, not all, of its academies.   By September, however, WCAT issued a statement saying the Trust ‘does not have the capacity to facilitate the rapid improvement our academies need and our students deserve.’ 

Wakefield Council has called for a Public Inquiry.   

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