'No remaining funds' for former Wakefield City Academies Trust schools

Wakefield City Academies Trust will not return any money to the 21 schools formerly in their care, it has been confirmed.
Wakefield City Academies Trust will not return any money to the 21 schools formerly in their care, it has been confirmed.

A collapsed academies chain will not return any money to the 21 schools formerly in their care, it has been confirmed.

Wakefield City Academies Trust ran 21 schools in and around the Wakefield district, including Havercroft Academy, Kinsley Academy, Pontefract and Wakefield City Academy.

Wakefield City AcademiesTrust ran 21 schools in and around the Wakefield district, including Havercroft Academy, Kinsley Academy, Pontefract and Wakefield City Academy.

Wakefield City AcademiesTrust ran 21 schools in and around the Wakefield district, including Havercroft Academy, Kinsley Academy, Pontefract and Wakefield City Academy.

In September 2017, the Trust announced that it would be transferring its academies to new sponsors.

But in a letter sent to Wakefield MP Mary Creagh earlier this week, Regional Schools Commissioner Vicky Beer said that the closure process had been completed, and no funds would be returned to the Trust’s schools.

Ms Beer said that costs including pension liabilities and outstanding invoices had now been met, but no further money was available.

She wrote: “The department has worked through the trust closure process with WCAT, with full closure achieved on 24 October 2019.

"The trust has now formally entered liquidation. I advised previously that any remaining monies would be determined at the point of closure and that there were still costs to be met including pension liabilities and outstanding invoices.

"These costs have now been met and balances cleared.

"Unfortunately, this does not leave any remaining funds to distribute amongst the previous WCAT academies and their new trusts."

Financial accounts for WCAT show that on 28 February this year the Trust had £1,151,000 in the bank.

Ms Creagh has campaigned for the Trust to return money to the schools.

She said: “Money that was meant to be spent for some of the poorest pupils in our city has been misspent but no one has been held accountable for its failure.

“The collapse of WCAT left students, parents and teachers in chaos.

“Now we find that they lost millions of pounds in reserves.

“I am furious that there has been no justice for Wakefield students who have paid the price of the Government’s failed academy experiment.”

An episode of the BBC’s Inside Out claimed that WCAT’s schools lost £2m in reserves when the Trust collapsed, while former Chief Executive Mike Ramsey made more than £840,000 supplying computers to WCAT schools.

A Department for Education spokesperson said: “The Wakefield City Academy Trust was placed into voluntary liquidation on 24 October 2019.

"The department has worked closely with each individual academy to ensure they have the support needed, which includes funding."