Yesterday, Monday 23 September, BBC Inside Out aired a documentary about Wakefield City Academies Trust (WCAT). The Independent also published an article on this today.
It is two years ago that WCAT announced it would hand back control of the 21 schools it managed.
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the School System Lord Agnew said:
It’s simply not right to say that lessons have not been learned – we take the use of public money very seriously.
Even before the trust handed back its schools, Government intervention led to improvements in financial and governance policies – we stamped out conflicts of interest and made sure that WCAT followed the strict rules in place that require academy schools to be transparent with parents and the wider public.
Since then all 21 schools have been transferred to strong academy trusts that are working to driving up standards. More generally I have introduced several measures to deliver even more transparency over all academy finances, with academies required to declare all staff earning over £100,000, contracts given to family or friends, and seek approval for all related-party transactions over £20,000.
Parents should be reassured that WCAT is not representative of all academies. More than half a million children are now in good or outstanding academies that, typically, replaced underperforming schools.