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Wakefield City Academies' schools trust 'dysfunctional'

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A collapsed academy chain that ran 21 Yorkshire schools was “dysfunctional” and led by “inadequate” managers, a confidential report has revealed.Wakefield City Academies Trust (WCAT) said at the start of September it was giving up its schools because it was unable to rapidly improve them.A leaked report, written by the trust’s interim CEO Chris Pickering, also said it operated “on a basis of fear” and had fostered a “blame culture”.WCAT refused to comment on the report.The document also revealed that only four of the 21 academies had been rated by Ofsted as “good or better”, while nine were deemed inadequate but it did not disclose which schools they were.It criticised the trust for its inadequate leadership “at all levels”, amongst other things.It also said: “Governance within the organisation is dysfunctional. Structures, processes and procedures are ineffective and governance at a local level is a major concern.”

The report, which was written in June, said the trust’s financial position was “of great concern”.”It is currently operating at a significant in year deficit and reserves are disappearing at an alarming rate.”In his conclusion, Mr Pickering said WCAT was “inefficient and ineffective” as its academies were “operating mainly in isolation” and not under the single organisation.He said WCAT “does not have the capacity on its own to secure rapid and sustained academy improvement” even if it were to cut the number of its academies to 11.Earlier this month the government identified eight preferred trusts to take over WCAT’s 14 primary and seven secondary establishments.The Department for Education (DfE) has been approached for a comment.WCAT ran schools across West, South and East Yorkshire, providing education to about 8,500 children.It previously said it was working with everyone concerned to ensure the transition to new sponsors was “as seamless as possible”.Affected academiesWest Yorkshire: Barkerend Academy, Bell Lane Academy, Havercroft Academy, Heathview Academy, Hemsworth Arts and Community Academy, High Crags Academy, Thornbury Academy, Wakefield Community Academy, Kinsley Academy, Morley Place Academy, The Freeston Academy, West End Academy.South Yorkshire: Balby Carr Academy, Brookfield Academy, Carr Lodge Academy, Mexborough Academy, Montagu Academy, Waverley Academy, Willow Academy, Yewlands Academy.East Yorkshire: Goole High School Academy.
Source: BBC Leeds