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Outwood Grange confirmed as sponsor of six schools from failed Wakefield City Academies Trust

Two schools that had been earmarked for Outwood Grange are now set to be run by Waterton Academy Trust

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Two schools that had been earmarked for Outwood Grange are now set to be run by Waterton Academy Trust

Outwood Grange Academies Trust has been confirmed as the new sponsor of six schools currently run by Wakefield City Academies Trust.

However, two further schools that were were initially earmarked to join Outwood are now set to join an alternative sponsor.

The news came on the day Wakefield published its 2016-17 annual accounts. 

Last September the trust announced it was giving up all 21 of its schools after concluding it was unable to rapidly improve them.

In October, Outwood was named as the preferred sponsor for eight of the schools.

However, the Department for Education confirmed today that it would operate six of them: Bell Lane Academy, The Freeston Academy, Havercroft Academy, Heath View Academy, Hemsworth Academy and Wakefield City Academy.

Outwood had also been lined up to take on Kinsley Academy and West End Academy, and has provided support to both academies in recent months. 

However, the DfE said that, after considering the views of staff and parents, it had decided that the Waterton Academy Trust was the sponsor best suited to take on the schools. There will now be a two-week period for interested parties to submit their views on Waterton becoming the sponsor of both academies.

Decisions 'reflect the views of parents and staff'

The DfE confirmed the sponsors of 11 WCAT schools earlier this month. Today's update leaves the sponsors of two more schools to be confirmed – Balby Carr Community Academy and Mexborough Academy – which have provisionally been earmarked for Astrea Academy Trust and Delta Academies Trust respectively.

A DfE spokesman said: “We are pleased to confirm new trusts for a further six academies in the Wakefield City Academies Trust that have the expertise and capacity to improve education standards for these schools. Our priority has always been to work quickly to provide certainty for pupils and teachers, and these decisions reflect the views of parents and staff.

“We will be working to minimise disruption for pupils and ensure a smooth transfer to the new trusts, supported by the regional schools commissioner. New trusts for the remaining four schools will be confirmed shortly.”

In an exclusive interview with Tes earlier this month, the chief executive of Outwood, Martyn Oliver, said he would be sacked if he failed to turn around the Wakefield schools which his trust is taking on.

“If it doesn’t come off, I will lose my job,” he said. “The board will have no hesitation in saying to me that I’ve made the wrong decision. And quite rightly so.”

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