Government review call over Wakefield City Academies Trust

Pupils in secondary classroom
Image caption Unions said the Wakefield City Academies Trust had abandoned its schools

Union chiefs have called for a government review into a failing academy chain amid accusations of a “culture of bullying” at the trust.

Wakefield City Academies Trust (WCAT) said it was pulling out of all 21 of its schools because it could not “facilitate rapid improvements” needed.

The TUC has passed a motion calling for a review into what went wrong.

The trust said it was working with education chiefs to find a sponsor and would not comment on bullying claims.

The motion, proposed by the National Education Union and seconded by the GMB, was carried at the TUC’s annual conference earlier.

‘Pick up the pieces’

It calls on the government to hold “immediate talks with unions” and “relevant local authorities to guarantee the continued employment of staff, and to address the impact of this collapse on the communities affected”.

Allison Morrell, from the GMB, said: “Right across the 21 schools in the trust there was a culture of bullying and harassment and failure to apply agreed policies and consequently an increase in staff sickness absence including mental health.

“GMB support staff and teaching unions have been ringing alarm bells now for some time and here we are – along with the pupils and families – left to pick up the pieces.”

The Department for Education said it had agreed to the re-brokerage of all 21 schools and its priority was to “ensure minimal disruption for pupils”.

The trust runs schools across West, South and East Yorkshire.

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