Wakefield City Academies Trust will no longer run 21 schools

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Schools face an uncertain future after the shock announcement that an academy chain will not continue as their parent organisation.

The board of Wakefield City Academies Trust (WCAT) has asked government education bosses to find new sponsors for the 21 schools currently under the trust’s leadership.

In a statement the WCAT board said it had been working address “significant challenges” faced by the trust.

It said: “Having undertaken this comprehensive review, led by an experienced CEO, our conclusion is that the trust does not have the capacity to facilitate the rapid improvement our academies need and our students deserve.

“Consequently, the board has requested that the Department for Education (DfE) work with it to place our academies with new sponsors.”

A new board was appointed at the organisation in July 2016.

In May this year, Chris Pickering was appointed as chief executive of the trust.

He replaced Mike Ramsay, who was interim CEO following the departure of the former boss Alan Yellup.

In a statement the Department for Education said the schools would remain part of WCAT until new sponsors are found.

The department said: “We have agreed to the re-brokerage of all 21 schools under the Wakefield City Academy Trust’s control.

“Our priority is to ensure all children receive the best possible education and the Regional Schools Commissioners for Lancashire and West Yorkshire and the East Midlands and Humber are working with the trust to identify new sponsors and to ensure minimal disruption for pupils.”

The department pointed out that results in 2016 were disappointing and that “only four of the trust’s 21 academies are judged to be Good or Outstanding by Ofsted.”