‘Extreme’ concern over Wakefield City Academies Trust’s finances

A leaked document from the Department for Education (DfE) has revealed the government has ‘extreme’ concerns over the financial management of the Wakefield City Academies Trust.

According to TES, the leaked document reports the findings of an investigation which concluded that the Trust, which runs 21 primaries and secondaries across Yorkshire, has been put in an ‘extremely vulnerable position as a result of inadequate governance, leadership and overall financial management’.

The TES report revealed that the chain has paid its interim chief executive more than £82,000 for 15 weeks’ work, despite the fact it was facing a large deficit budget.

It also cautioned that there had been a ‘serious breakdown in the management, governance and oversight’ in the Trust and criticised the Trust for not having a chief financial officer in post and not being able to produce a list of students receiving pupil premium payments.

The Trust responded to TES and claimed that many of the issues within the report were ‘legacy issues’ relating to previous management.

John Hargreaves, Trust chair, said: “A number of the observations were not accurate and have been strongly refuted by the Trust. Subsequently, the EFA [Education Funding Agency] made a number of recommendations that were to be addressed within a robust action plan and the strategic plan created and implemented by the new Trust board.

“All of the recommendations made by the EFA have been satisfactorily completed or are underway given the time frames involved. The members of the Trust, working with the iCEO, took action early in July forming a new board which now has nine directors with three functioning committees.”

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