Secrecy claims following shock withdrawal of sponsor from South Yorkshire schools

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Parents an politicians demanded answers over the collapse of an academy trust which runs nine schools in South Yorkshire.

The demise of Wakefield City Academies Trust (WCAT) was discussed at a public meeting in Hemsworth West Yorkshire, which was organised by union leaders and Hemsworth MP Jon Trickett.

Just days into the new term, WCAT announced it was giving up its 21 schools across Yorkshire because it was unable to rapidly improve them.

Mr Trickett said secrecy surrounded what had gone wrong.

Concerns were raised at Friday's meeting, which was attended by dozens of parents, Mr Trickett and union representatives.

Mr Trickett said: "I demand to know what has happened, why this trust apparently failed so badly and what the government is going to do about it."

The trust runs schools across West, South and East Yorkshire, providing an education to about 8,500 children.

The affected academies in South Yorkshire 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.

The Department for Education has said it is trying to find alternative sponsors for the 14 primary and seven secondary schools, after which the trust will be wound up.

WCAT previously said it was working with everyone concerned to "ensure the transition to new sponsors is as seamless as possible".

A statement from the trust's board in September 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.