Trust behind Wakefield City Academy included in critical Ofsted letter

Alan Yellup chief executive of Wakefield City Academies Trust.
Alan Yellup chief executive of Wakefield City Academies Trust.

Ofsted has slammed seven school academy chains over issues including educational standards and “poor use of public money”.

Wakefield City Academies Trust (WCAT) is among them despite being praised by the watchdog a last year for helping to improve three struggling schools in the district.

Sir Michael Wilshaw, the chief inspector of schools, criticised standards at the seven Multi Academy Trusts (MATs) in a letter to education secretary Nicky Morgan.

His letter claims that salary levels for some trust chief executives are not worth the performance of the schools they are in charge of.

He also said some trusts were sitting on large cash reserves and spending millions of pounds on private consultations.

Sir Michael said: “This poor use of public money is compounded by some trusts holding very large cash reserves that are not being spent on raising standards.

“For example, at the end of August 2015, these seven trusts had total cash in the bank of £111 million.

“Furthermore, some of these trusts are spending money on expensive consultants or advisers to compensate for deficits in leadership.

“Put together, these seven trusts spent at least £8.5 million on education consultancy in 2014/15 alone.”

The seven trusts are Wakefield City Academies, School Partnership Trust Academies, E-ACT, AET, The Education Fellowship, CfBT Multi-Academy Trust, Collaborative Academies Trust and Oasis Learning Multi-Academy Trust.

Sir Michael said some trusts were spread over large geographical areas and were “struggling to monitor performance effectively.”

Wakefield city Academies was praised by Ofsted for making a “positive difference to the quality of provision and outcomes for pupils within its academies” after being inspected by Ofsted last May.

At the time some improvements were required, including reducing exclusions and raising the achievements of disadvantaged pupils.

But WCAT was recognised for improving standards at Havercroft Academy, Hemsworth Arts and Community Academy and West End Academy.

in 2014 Alan Yellup, the organisation’s chief executive, was awarded the OBE for his service to eductation.