Philip demands money removed from High Crags Primary School's budget is returned immediately

AN MP has demanded more than a quarter of a million pounds taken from a school’s budget without consent by its former Trust be returned immediately.

Shipley MP Philip Davies urged the Department for Education to step in if needed to ensure High Crags primary are given the £276,000 surplus it built up following an imposed stop on spending by Wakefield City Academies Trust (WCAT).

In Parliament Mr Davies said: “The minister will be aware that due to the Wakefield Trust imposing a spending moratorium on High Crags in my constituency as they built up a surplus of £276,000.

“That in recent days has been transferred out of the school account without the authorisation of the school, without the prior consent of the school, and transferred over to the Trust. Surely the Government cannot stand aside and allow £276,000 to be taken out of the school’s budget in one of the most deprived areas in my constituency. Will he do something to make sure that money is reinstated back into the school for the benefit of the pupils?”

Schools Minister Nick Gibb said Mr Davies was right to raise the issue, adding: “High Crags Primary School was put into special measures in June 2015 before it became a sponsored academy and in 2016 just 23 per cent of its pupils reached the expected standard in reading, writing and maths, compared to the national average of 53 per cent. The school is now being brokered to be supported by the highly successful Tauheedal education trust. The former trust WCAT will not be able to retain any of the reserves it holds at point of disillusion. Schools will be receiving the resources and support they need to raise academic standards including at High Crags primary school.”

In September WCAT announced it would be looking for new sponsors to run its 21 schools including High Crags Academy.