Re-brokering of failed Academies Trust schools criticised

By agency reporter
January 15, 2018

Commenting on the announcement that 11 of the 21 academies currently run by the failed Wakefield City Academies Trust have been re-brokered to new sponsors, Dr Mary Bousted, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union, said, “Once again the Department for Education has shown complete disregard for the views of parents and staff in the school communities that have been so badly let down by the collapse of the Wakefield City Academies Trust (WCAT).

"Despite being told that their school’s sponsor has spectacularly failed, parents have not been consulted throughout the process. The so-called ‘engagement’ exercise for parents and staff to meet the proposed new sponsor does not constitute meaningful consultation, with one trust holding its parents’ meetings in just one location, many miles from the schools affected. It is no surprise that parents and staff have no confidence in the academy system and do not believe that their legitimate concerns are being listened to.

“There are many unanswered questions. We need to know whether the deficits run up by WCAT have been paid off. Those schools that loaned money to WCAT, much of it raised by the voluntary activity of parents, need to be told whether these funds will be reimbursed. Parents and staff must be given assurances that going forward the schools will have sufficient funds to provide a high quality education to all pupils with the staff and resources in place to do so.

“It is to be hoped that the new Secretary of State for Education, Damian Hinds, looks closely at the events leading up to WCAT’s failure and asks probing questions about the failure of the Regional Schools Commissioners to step in sooner. In addition, there must be a new mechanism for dealing with such situations in the future. Parents and staff should have the right to meaningful consultation over the identity of the new sponsor and they should also have the option of the school being returned to the local authority family of schools, where democratic oversight of both academic quality and financial probity can be better assured.”

* NEU https://neu.org.uk/

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