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Wakefield City Academies Trust chief in pledge to lift ‘dark cloud’

Martyn Oliver, cheif executive of Outwood Grange Academies Trust, Wakefield.
Martyn Oliver, cheif executive of Outwood Grange Academies Trust, Wakefield.

The leader of an academy chain which is set to take over six schools that have been offloaded by Wakefield City Academies Trust (WCAT) plans to to lift the “dark cloud” that has been cast by the collapsed organisation.

As Martyn Oliver, CEO of Outwood Grange Academy Trust (OGAT), revealed that the transfer was expected to take place on April 1, he outlined his vision for the future of the Wakefield schools.

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And as well as a rebrand, which will be an effort to shake off the negative connotations of WCAT, he has unveiled ambitious plans to improve educational outcomes and rebuild crumbling buildings.

He has also stressed that OGAT will not take on any debt and none of the schools will start in deficit, with detailed packages in place to ensure the schools’ needs would be met and there would not be a repeat of any mistakes made by WCAT, which made a shock announcement last September that it would cease running its 21 Yorkshire schools.

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He said: “We are aiming for April 1 to bring the six schools officially across.

“The Department for Education is providing great support to these schools going forward and I have been able to share with staff, governors and parents how we are going to rapidly boost school improvement and in some cases repair some capital building issues which haven’t been addressed for many years.

“The WCAT schools are coming across with zero deficit, no surplus and no deficit.”

OGAT is set to take on three primary schools Bell Lane Academy, Havercroft Academy and Heath View Academy.

It will also sponsor three secondaries, The Freeston Academy, Hemsworth Academy and Wakefield City Academy.

Mr Oliver said some had chosen to be re-named, including Wakefield City Academy that will be known as Outwood Academy City Fields. He said: “We want to lift the dark cloud that has been left behind by WCAT and give back to the communities.”