Sponsors announced for eight more Wakefield City Academies Trust (WCAT) schools

The Government has announced that Outwood Grange Academies Trust (OGAT) will take over six of the 21 schools that were offloaded by a crisis-hit Yorkshire academy chain.

Martyn Oliver, CEO of Outwood Grange Academies Trust (OGAT).
Martyn Oliver, CEO of Outwood Grange Academies Trust (OGAT).

But two more that were originally earmarked for OGAT will be run for another sponsor following feedback from staff and parents, according to the Department for Education (DfE).

It follows last September’s shock announcement from Wakefield City Academies Trust (WCAT), which saw the trust’s board conclude that it could not provide the quality of education its pupils deserved.

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Last month the DfE announced it had selected seven new trusts to take over 11 of the schools.

And today it confirmed that Bell Lane Academy, The Freeston Academy, Havercroft Academy, Heath View Academy, Hemsworth Academy and Wakefield City Academy – will join OGAT as planned.

However, Kinsley Academy and West End Academy, which have been supported by OGAT in recent months, is set to be rebrokered to the Waterton Academy Trust, the first purely primary multi-academy trust in Wakefield It follows feedback from staff and parents who said the chain would be “best suited” to take on the schools.

A further two-week period for views to be submitted will now take place, before a final decision is made.

Martyn Oliver, CEO of OGAT said: We are committed to supporting these academies and engaging with parents and the communities to provide stability and long-lasting school Improvement, placing the needs of the children in these academies first.

"We have developed very strong and positive relationships with the leadership and staff in these academies and hope that today’s announcement will provide certainty for all.

"The next immediate steps will see us sign a contract with WCAT to run the academies whilst we move to full sponsorship of them in the coming months.

In the coming days and weeks we will be engaging with parents orcarers and stakeholders at each academy and working with the staff to introduce our tried and tested improvement model, building upon the considerable expertise already within these academies.

"We are pleased that Kinsley and West End academies have been allocated a sponsor who will fit their needs and, as primaries within the Hemsworth Academy (secondary) area, we look forward to developing a positive relationship with them.”

Today’s update leaves sponsors for two WCAT schools to be confirmed – Balby Carr Community Academy and Mexborough Academy – with final decisions set to be announced in the coming weeks.

A DfE spokesperson said:“We are pleased to confirm new trusts for a further six academies in the Wakefield City Academies Trust that have the expertise and capacity to improve education standards for these schools. Our priority has always been to work quickly to provide certainty for pupils and teachers, and these decisions reflect the views of parents and staff.

“We will be working to minimise disruption for pupils and ensure a smooth transfer to the new trusts, supported by the regional schools commissioner. New trusts for the remaining four schools will be confirmed shortly.”

OGAT, which was established in 2009 from Outwood Grange College of Technology in Wakefield, is ranked in the top 10 highest performing multi-academy trusts in England in the Government’s performance tables.

It currently has 24 academies – 18 secondaries and 6 primaries – across the Tees Valley, Yorkshire, North Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire.