Schools in South Yorkshire face uncertain future after sponsor's shock withdrawal

The trust runs nine schools in South Yorkshire
The trust runs nine schools in South Yorkshire

Schools across South Yorkshire face an uncertain future after the education trust which runs them announced it is pulling out.

Wakefield City Academies Trust (WCAT) runs 21 schools, including nine in Sheffield, Doncaster and Rotherham.

But the trust revealed today, just one week into the new school year, that it is working with government education bosses to find new sponsors for all of its schools.

The schools in South Yorkshire which are affected are: Balby Carr Academy, in Doncaster; Brookfield Academy, in Rotherham; Carr Lodge Academy, in Doncaster; Mexborough Academy, in Doncaster; Montagu Academy, in Doncaster; Morley Place Academy, in Doncaster; Waverley Academy, in Doncaster; Willow Academy, in Doncaster; and Yewlands Academy, in Sheffield.

A statement from the trust's board said it had been working to address 'significant challenges'.

"Having undertaken this comprehensive review, led by an experienced CEO, our conclusion is that the trust does not have the capacity to facilitate the rapid improvement our academies need and our students deserve," it added.

The trust sought to reassure parents, pupils and staff, promising to work with the schools to make the transition 'as seamless as possible' and claiming the move would have a 'positive impact' on children's education.

The Department for Education said the schools would remain part of the trust until new sponsors are found.

It pointed out that results at the schools in 2016 had been disappointing and said just four out of 21 were rated 'good' or 'outstanding' by Ofsted.

"Our priority is to ensure all children receive the best possible education and the Regional Schools Commissioners for Lancashire and West Yorkshire and the East Midlands and Humber are working with the trust to identify new sponsors and to ensure minimal disruption for pupils," it added.