MPs to meet with education secretary Justine Greening over WCAT collapse

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mps have secured a meeting with education secretary Justine Greening to discuss their concerns about the collapse of a chain of academy schools.

The Wakefield City Academies Trust (WCAT) announced in September that it would cease running all 21 of its schools, including Wakefield City, Normanton Freeston and Hemsworth academies

Wakefield City Academy

Wakefield City Academy

The MPs will meet Ms Greening next week after complaining of initially being “fobbed off” with a junior minister.

They include Mary Creagh, Jon Trickett and Yvette Cooper, who represent Wakefield, Hemsworth and Pontefract and Castleford respectively.

Claims over the financial management of WCAT include reports of monies being extracted from individual academies to pay off the debts of the parent organisation.

But ministers have said the trust will not be able to retain any of its reserves once it has formally been dissolved.

Mp Jon Trickett.

Mp Jon Trickett.

It is understood the MPs were offered a meeting with a parliamentary under–secretary but turned it down.

Mr Trickett, who has called for the National Audit Office to investigate the running of WCAT, said: “The education secretary repeatedly failed to listen to us.

“I was shocked when we were first told she wouldn’t even meet with us, especially given the national profile and the clear importance of the issue.

“From first knowing about the problems with WCAT a year ago, until now, the government has put local children’s education lowest on their priority list. That must end now.

MP Mary Creagh.

MP Mary Creagh.

“I want to see assurances given to local people that they will be listened to, that funds will be properly restored to the schools and this will never happen again.”

Ms Creagh said: “Her department has questions to answer after the worrying reports of mismanagement of our schools by Wakefield City Academies Trust.”

The Department for Education released a list of potential organisations to take over the WCAT schools.

All eight WCAT schools in the Wakefield district could be taken over by Outwood Grange Academies Trust.