Education committee raises concerns over Multi Academy Trusts.

‘A report published today by the House of Commons Education Committee has raised ‘significant concerns’ about the performance, accountability and expansion of the MAT model.

It noted MATs are not sufficiently accountable to parents and local communities, and warned there were gaps in how they were assessed by Ofsted and Regional Schools Commissioners.

The committee also said there was a ‘high degree of uncertainty’ around their effectiveness and said there was not yet the evidence to support large scale expansion.

‘Since launching this inquiry there have been several changes to academy policy which have caused uncertainty and instability in the sector,’ said committee chair Neil Carmichael.

‘We have significant concerns about the performance, accountability and expansion of multi-academy trusts.

‘While some MATs are producing excellent results and making a valuable contribution to our education system, a considerable number are failing to improve and are consistently at the bottom of league tables.’’ – LocalGov

‘Although the government has abandoned plans to force all schools to become academies by 2022, the full academisation of the system remains the long-term ambition of ministers.

The committee’s report, which follows an inquiry into multi-academy trusts launched in March last year, also concludes that the government had, in its “early enthusiasm”, encouraged trusts to “expand too quickly”, and calls for a greater focus on linking schools which are close geographically…

The government should “partner with” local authorities and use their expertise to reach its goal of full academisation, the committee’s report says.

MPs want a clearer definition of the future role of local authorities, particularly those in areas with high numbers of academies. The current uncertainty about their place in the school system is “not sustainable” and making their role clear “should be a priority for the secretary of state”, the report adds…

A DfE spokesperson said: “The oversight and accountability system for academies and MATs is more robust than LA maintained schools, allowing us to take swift action to deal with underperformance.

“Where an academy is failing to reach the standards we expect, action is taken including transferring schools to new trusts. We are already developing a ‘growth check’ to ensure good trusts only take on new schools when they are ready and it will not impact on the education of the children they are already responsible for.”

He added that local authorities are already able to be part of a MAT, providing less than a fifth of its board had council links.’ – Schools Week


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