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Police probe into Wakefield City Academies Trust ends

West Yorkshire Police say no crimes have been recorded in relation to the collapse of the 21-school academy trust last year

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West Yorkshire Police say no crimes have been recorded in relation to the collapse of the 21-school academy trust last year

Wakefield City Academies Trust has received the all-clear following a police inquiry into its finances, it has emerged.

Police reviewed information relating to the collapsed academy trust after the leader of Wakefield Council called for an investigation into WCAT’s finances.

In a statement, West Yorkshire Police said: “Wakefield police have now completed a review of information passed to officers regarding this matter. No crimes have been recorded and relevant authorities have been made aware.”

WCAT announced last September that it would give up all 21 of its schools because it was unable to bring about the improvement needed. The trust asked the Department of Education to help it place its academies with new sponsors.

Peter Box, the Labour leader of Wakefield Council, contacted the police over concerns that the academy trust had engaged in “asset-stripping” of its schools, after it emerged that it had transferred money from some of its individual academies to its central accounts.

In a separate move, the Department for Education conducted an audit of the trust. Education minister Lord Agnew confirmed last month that this found “no evidence of financial wrongdoing”.

WCAT: 'No regulatory issues'

A WCAT spokesperson said: “We are pleased to hear the police inquiry has ended. This follows confirmation from the Department for Education of a clean audit of our accounts and that there have been no regulatory issues at the trust. We will continue working towards the successful transition of all our academies to new sponsors.”

WCAT has also confirmed that 11 of its 21 academies have now been formally transferred to new sponsors.

Its remaining schools are expected to transfer to new sponsors over the course of the next few months, with the multi-academy trust being formally wound up later in the year.

A spokesperson for the WCAT board said: “The board has, at all times, acted responsibly, putting the interests of students and staff first while also ensuring WCAT continues to be financially solvent until the point it is wound-up. The board regrets that, due to historical factors, WCAT did not have the capacity to facilitate the rapid improvement the academies needed and students deserved."

The 11 schools to transfer and their new sponsors are:

  • Brookfield Academy – Aston Community Education Trust
  • Yewlands Academy – Brigantia Learning Trust
  • Barkerend, High Crags and Thornbury academies – Tauheedul Education Trust
  • Goole, Montagu, Morley Place – Delta Academies Trust
  • Waverley – Astrea Academy Trust
  • Bell Lane, Heath View academies – Outward Grange Academies Trust

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