Mary Creagh in praise of Wakefield’s ‘outstanding’ schools

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As the end of term approaches, our children’s days are packed with sports days, activity weeks and drama productions, WRITES MARY CREAGH.

I am attending a celebration assembly at St Mary’s Primary School tomorrow to donate books to the children and encourage them to read over the holidays.

Amber Kirby and Beatrice Murphy from Middlestown School with Mary Creagh.

Amber Kirby and Beatrice Murphy from Middlestown School with Mary Creagh.

The Summer Reading Challenge, which encourages children to read six books over the holidays, is a great way to prevent ‘summer learning loss’ and tackle boredom. Any child can sign up at their local library.

We are lucky to have several outstanding schools in Wakefield, like Horbury Bridge Academy.

I was invited to their school conference on the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on June 14. It was great to see their enthusiastic Young Leaders from year six leading workshops with pupils from West Bretton, Middlestown and Stanley St Peter’s schools.

Watching the next generation get to grips with the SDGs gave me hope that the planet is safe in their hands!

Cathedral Academy won Secondary School of the Year at the prestigious national TES (formerly the Times Educational Supplement) Awards.

Just two years ago they were facing a financial crisis, but their principal Rob Marsh turned the school around to national acclaim. Rob also supported CAPA College, previously Cathedral Academy for Performing Arts, which provides students with an exciting route into the creative industry and work will start on their new £8m campus in the city centre this month - a project I am proud to have supported through some difficult moments.

Clare Kelly from Dane Royd Junior and Infant School, was shortlisted for Headteacher of the Year at the awards.

Clare led the school to an “outstanding” Ofsted report last year, and is supporting Mackie Hill school which the Government is trying to force into an academy chain against the wishes of parents. I continue to oppose the academisation, and hope a new Ofsted inspection may yet forces a change of heart from ministers.

Not all our schools have been so fortunate. Wakefield City Academies Trust (WCAT) collapsed in 2017, leaving pupils, parents and staff in the lurch.

All the schools have now been transferred to other Trusts, but the closure process for WCAT is not yet complete. Any money left over in WCAT’s accounts must go back to the education of children. The Department for Education recently revealed to me that they spent £220,000 on consulting firm Deloitte to work on WCAT’s closure in the last eighteen months.

At a time of cuts to schools budgets, this is an outrageous waste of taxpayers’ money.

Wakefield Armed Forces Day is this Saturday in Pontefract Park. One of the highlights will be the veterans’ parade marching to the central square.

There are 69,000 veterans in West Yorkshire, but there’s very little information about where they are or what their needs are.

That is why the Royal British Legion started their ‘Count Them In’ campaign to include a question on our Armed Forces community in the next census, which I am proud to support along with Wakefield Council’s Armed Forces Champion, Coun Sandra Pickin.

The Government have said they intend to follow the Legion’s recommendation.

I hope it will enable government, charities and service providers to meet the needs of our serving personnel, veterans and their families. Our Armed Forces sacrifice so much to keep us safe. It is right we should be there when they need us.

As ever, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with my office if you need my help: mary@marycreagh.co.uk