UNIVERSITY Academy Keighley this week learned it had a narrow escape last year when a link-up with a high-profile new sponsor fell through.

Wakefield City Academies Trust this week made the shock announcement it was pulling out of running 21 academies across Yorkshire.

UAK had been set to become one of the schools sponsored by the trust until the proposed partnership was scrapped last December.

UAK bosses this week reacted to the news by highlighting their dramatic improvement in exam grades this summer and the rebuilding of their partnership with original sponsor the University of Bradford.

UAK principal Bernie Addison said: “We are really happy that our results this year show that the students have achieved well under the current leadership and governance with the university’s support.

The University of Bradford served as the flagship sponsor in 2010 when University Academy Keighley was formed from the old Greenhead High School.

The Department for Education (DfE) recommended Wakefield City Academies Trust as a potential new sponsor for UAK in 2015 when its results dipped to 16 per cent.

However, in December 2016 the DfE informed the school that WCAT was no longer in a

position to take on the role.

At the same time, the University of Bradford reaffirmed its commitment to the school after reconsidering its capacity to provide support.

Mrs Addison said that this year UAK recorded its best GCSE results ever, with 49 per cent of students achieving Basics of English and mathematics at Grade 4 (C).

She said: “It was an unsettling period when WCAT was proposing to be the new sponsor of the school and we worked hard at the time to ensure this not affect the students’ learning.

“I was delighted in December 2016 when the University of Bradford confirmed that it would continue to be our sponsor as we have strong and successful relationship with the University and our governors.

Joanne Marshall, the UAK governors’ chair and university representative, this week said: “We have been working very closely with the governors and Leadership Team at UAK and we are delighted with the trajectory of improvement at UAK.

“We are looking forward to a full inspection from Ofsted this year, which we hope will recognise the significant improvements that have been made at the school since 2015.”

In a statement this week, Wakefield City Academies Trust this week said it was unable to "facilitate the rapid improvement our academies need, and our students deserve".

The Department for Education (DfE) said many of the schools within the trust were performing below the national average.