'Deep disappointment' as government puts forward new trust to take over Mackie Hill Primary School in Wakefield

Parents have left a very clear message for the government.
Parents have left a very clear message for the government.

The Department of Education is again facing criticism for remorselessly pushing ahead with controversial plans to academise a Wakefield primary school.

The DofE has now put forward the Inspire Partnership Multi-Academy Trust to run Mackie Hill Primary School in Crigglestone.

The saga has been ongoing for almost a year. Picture by Lee Ward.

The saga has been ongoing for almost a year. Picture by Lee Ward.

The Inspire trust already runs Gawthorpe Community Academy in Ossett, along with a portfolio of seven other primary schools.

But parents and staff at Mackie Hill have repeatedly said they want the school to be run under the umbrella of Kettlethorpe High School, as it has been for the best part of two years.

This arrangement, they say, has helped transform pupils' lives for the better, after the school was graded inadequate under previous management in 2017.

Wakefield MP Mary Creagh, who is supporting parents in calling for the government to leave the school alone, said: "I am deeply disappointed that the government is pressing ahead with its plan to force Mackie Hill to become an academy against the wishes of parents, guardians and teachers.

MP Mary Creagh is backing parents.

MP Mary Creagh is backing parents.

"I have spoken to the head teacher and governing body of Mackie Hill to assure them of my support.

"I will be pressing Ofsted to conduct an inspection as soon as possible so the school can show it has improved and the academy proposal can be halted."

The Department of Education says it has a legal duty to convert inadequate schools into academies, which is why campaigners want Ofsted to re-inspect Mackie Hill promptly. They believe it would then be taken out of special measures.

The New Collaborative Learning Trust, which runs Pontefract Sixth Form College, had originally been asked to take over Mackie Hill, but they pulled out of the arrangement earlier this year.

The school was graded inadequate under previous management nearly two years ago.

The school was graded inadequate under previous management nearly two years ago.

Besides Gawthorpe, the Inspire Partnership Trust's other schools are all primaries - Towngate in Ossett, Half Acres and Ackton Pastures in Castleford, Fitzwilliam Primary, Girnhill Infant School in Featherstone, South Hiendley in Barnsley and Ash Grove Junior and Infant School in South Elmsall.

The trust said on Tuesday that they would ensure "minimal disruption to pupils and staff" during the takeover.

Local Democracy Reporting Service