Imran meeting with the Minister for Education
Imran meeting with the Minister for Education

Following his meeting with Ministers during the last academic year, Imran has announced that the Department for Education has agreed to provide £750,000 in additional funding to support two Bradford primary schools which were part of the Wakefield City Academy Trust (WCAT) academy chain that collapsed in 2017.

Totalling around £750,000, the funding for Barkerend and Thornbury schools is split between £597,000 of Priority One Funding used to help secure and improve school buildings, and £158,000 of Multi-Academy Trust Development and Improvement Funding (MDIF) used to improve educational outcomes and increase social mobility at the schools by funding teaching and leadership staff and providing professional development training.

The announcement follows a hard-fought campaign by Imran with the Department for Education to support Barkerend and Thornbury schools in his constituency after the Wakefield City Academy Trust operating both schools collapsed in September 2017, just days into the 2017/18 academic year, leaving pupils and staff at both schools with an uncertain future.

Concerns were originally raised about the sustainability and future of WCAT before its collapse, with a report into the Trust by the Education and Skills Funding Agency in 2015, and a subsequent follow up report in 2016 that found failings in financial accountability, a serious breakdown in management, governance and oversight and extreme concern over the way that the Trust was run. The Department for Education identified Star Academies as the preferred new sponsor for the three primary academies operated by WCAT in West Yorkshire in October 2017.

Speaking on the funding for Barkerend and Thornbury Academies, Imran said:

“This funding is of course great news and I am pleased that after months of hard work, Ministers have listened to the strong arguments around the need for additional funding to support and secure a positive future for Barkerend and Thornbury Primary Leadership Academies after much uncertainty and worry.

“We now need to see this additional funding followed up with a clear commitment from Star Academies to the future of these schools, and from the Department of Education to continue to support and monitor them as they put the collapse of Wakefield City Academy Trust (WCAT) and the serious difficulties that it has caused behind them.”

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