BRADFORD MP Imran Hussain has criticised the Government for awarding school contracts to the now collapsed Wakefield City Academies Trust.

The Bradford East MP has demanded answers from Government and the Prime Minister directly as to why the trust was awarded contracts for schools across Yorkshire, including Thornbury Academy, Barkerend Academy, and High Crags Academy in Shipley.

It had also announced it would be taking over University Academy in Keighley and Hanson School, but dropped those plans in December 2016.

In September 2017, WCAT announced that it would be handing over all of its 21 schools to other academy trusts, saying it didn’t “have the capacity to facilitate the rapid improvement our academies need and our students deserve”.

Mr Hussain said in 2016 a Department for Education investigation into WCAT stated it was in an “extremely vulnerable position”, and concerns had been raised with the Schools Commissioner in 2015.

Mr Hussain compared the situation to the recent collapse of Carillion.

He said: “The collapse of Carillion demonstrates the Government’s negligent lack of scrutiny of this company.

“The Prime Minister failed to answer the questions that I put to her in Parliament over why the Department for Education willingly ignored the numerous warnings coming from the WCAT."

He said that before its collapse, WCAT took hundreds of thousands of pounds from two schools in his constituency - and doubtless much more from schools across the region.

“I was extremely shocked and concerned that the Prime Minister also failed to listen to the concerns of parents and teachers and ensure that the money will be returned to the schools.”

The DfE announced earlier this month that the Tauheedul Education Trust will take over the Bradford schools.

When asked why WCAT received the schools' contracts and if money would be returned to the schools, Prime Minister Theresa May said: “We have a priority to make sure children across the county receive a great education whether in the north or the south.

“Seven of our 12 opportunity areas in providing that support are in the north and the midlands, that is the front line of our approach to tackling inequality in education outcomes.

“He [Imran Hussain] is concerned about northern schools and we are taking forward recommendations by the Northern Powerhouse Schools Strategy, and regarding funding we are putting record levels of funding into our schools and have announced increased funding for our schools over the next two years.”