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Concerns raised about proposed sponsors of schools dropped by Wakefield City Academies Trust

NEU calls for DfE to consider letting the academies revert to local authority maintained status

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NEU calls for DfE to consider letting the academies revert to local authority maintained status

Concerns have been raised about the capacity of the academy trusts the government wants to take over 21 schools that have been given up by their sponsor.

The Department for Education yesterday announced the identity of the eight academy trusts that it wants to pick up the academies that Wakefield City Academies Trust (WCAT) is surrendering, after concluding it was unable to rapidly turn them around.

Now, the NEU teaching union has questioned whether the proposed sponsors are best placed to support them, and has called for the DfE to consider allowing the local authorities to take the schools back if they want.

Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the NEU, said: "We question whether the eight named ‘preferred’ academy trust sponsors have the capacity and track record to take on these schools."

He called for written assurances about the job security of all staff at the schools, and an action plan for each school.

He added: “If the local authority is willing to take back schools into maintained status that should be given serious consideration alongside any other options.”

Mr Courtney also called for an independent public inquiry into what happened at WCAT, echoing a motion passed at last month’s TUC conference.

He added: “The DfE must now produce a list of other high-risk academy trusts and send a high-level investigation team into each one to identify risks and propose remedies to prevent similar situations arising.” 

The DfE has been contacted for comment.

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