MPs to investigate running of multi-academy trusts

Inquiry into academy chains amid concerns that many schools are failing their poorest pupils

Politicians have today opened an inquiry into the performance, accountability and governance of multi-academy trusts (MATs).

The House of Commons education committee said that the trusts currently operate with relatively little scrutiny.

Neil Carmichael, chair of the committee, said: “Some MATs and academies deliver great results for their pupils. But it’s important that all academies and MATs meet the highest educational standards.”

The move follows on from last Thursday’s letter sent by Sir Michael Wilshaw to the education secretary, in which he questioned whether the high salaries of chief executives at some MATs always reflected their schools’ performance.

The Ofsted chief inspector said he was worried by the findings of inspections of seven large MATs. He added that many of the academies in these chains were failing their poorest pupils.

The government is moving towards a system where all schools will eventually become academies. This means that the number of multi-academy trusts (MATs) – responsible for running chains of three or more schools – is likely to increase.

Under scrutiny

The new parliamentary inquiry will examine the role and governance of MATs, with the aim of ensuring that academy chains are held to account.

The committee has said that it wants to:

  • Map the current MAT landscape, including numbers, size and geographical spread of MATs.
  • Look at the characteristics of high-performing MATs.
  • Review how the performance of MATs should be assessed.
  • Ensure that the workings of the “middle tier” of management, between government and individual schools, is transparent.
  • Examine how many decisions are made at chain level and how many at individual school level.
  • Question how the expansion of MATs should be monitored and managed.

Written evidence to the committee can be submitted here. The deadline for submissions is 25 April.

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