Yorkshire MP raises concerns in light of new report following collapse of Wakefield City Academies Trust

Wakefield City Academy
Wakefield City Academy

A Yorkshire MP has expressed her concerns about the finances of academy trusts in light of a new report by the Public Accounts Committee.

The report follows the collapse of Wakefield City Academies Trust in September 2017, which affected 8,000 pupils in towns and cities including Doncaster, Wakefield, Sheffield, Shipley and Goole.

It shows that academy trusts, which are now responsible for running almost half of state schools in England, are not sufficiently transparent or financially accountable to parents and local communities.

Some academy trusts have misused public money by paying excessive salaries. In one instance, an executive head teacher leaving the post received an £850,000 lump sum.

Don Valley MP Caroline Flint, who has been a member of the Public Accounts Committee since 2015, said: “The collapse of Wakefield City Academies Trust led to unnecessary uncertainty for Doncaster pupils and there needs to be lessons learned by the government to make sure it doesn’t happen elsewhere.

“Our report stresses that all schools funded by public money need to be as accountable to taxpayers as possible.

“The government must raise its game to ensure that the Department for Education has more oversight. Our report shows that they are not doing enough financial analysis of academy trusts.

“This lack of oversight allows some academies to go unchallenged but also undermines the good academies who are financially responsible.

“The department needs an effective system in place to discipline the academy trustees and leaders responsible for financial failings.”

Visit publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201719/cmselect/cmpubacc/1597/159702.htm to access the full report.