Martin George

‘Out of control’: how the DfE allowed troubled MATs to expand

The academy system has implemented measures to curb excessive expansion and help struggling schools, but is it too little, too late? Martin George investigates

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When Wakefield City Academies Trust (WCAT) announced its imminent collapse in the first week of the new school year, parents were not alone in asking how events could have been allowed to get this far.

Within weeks, the Department for Education proposed new sponsors for all of its 21 schools. However, questions remain about why the trust was allowed to expand when it had long-standing problems that eventually led to its demise.

In 2011-12, the DfE introduced a mechanism to pause the growth of academy trusts about which it had “serious concerns”. It has used it 60 times, including with WCAT ...

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