In March the Schools White Paper said: “By 2030 all children will benefit from being taught in a school in, or in the process of joining, a strong multi-academy trust, which will help transform underperforming schools and deliver the best possible outcomes for children.”

Have MATS delivered the best possible outcomes for children? Scratch the surface and the answer is “No!”

Parents, pupils, staff and the community really do need to ask questions to ensure academisation is the best option.

Whether academisation provides overall benefits compared with an local authority (LA) school is well documented. While individual schools may shine, there is a distinct difference between the two systems.

No evidence that MATs support greater improvement

A University College London’s Institute of Education 2018 report found there was no positive impact on the attainment and progress scores of pupils in MATs when compared to equivalent non-MAT schools.

Indeed, pupils in larger MATs did worse, particularly in secondary schools.

A 2018 Education Policy Institute (EPI) report compared school performance and pupil improvement at every trust and local authority in England at key stages 2 and 4.

It revealed academy chains are “disproportionately represented” among the worst performing groups of primary schools, with 12 making it into the bottom 20.

A loss of autonomy and accountability

Schools have little control over key decisions, as funding is received by the MAT centrally. It is not ring-fenced to any school.

Distant management boards or ‘members’ often replace ‘local’ governing bodies eradicating parent, staff or local governors. Thus ‘local’ accountability is cut.

A House of Commons Public Accounts Committee report, Academy accounts and performance, January 2019, found: “Parents and local people have to fight to obtain even basic information about their children’s schools, and academy trusts do not do enough to communicate and explain decisions that affect the schools they are responsible for and how they are spending public money.”

SEND pupils

Last year Education Policy Institute (EPI) research indicated “academy schools are associated with depressed chances of being identified with SEND.”

This research reflects academisation across England and arguably much of the Island experience.

Emma Knights, chief executive of the NGA is well placed to understand academisation and has said: “The financial implications are much tougher once you become an academy” and “Governors will repent if they buy into a trust that is flashy and makes a lot of promises but doesn’t deliver.” READ MORE HERE.

As our children’s future education is at stake, it is imperative we all ask questions and understand the impact of greater island academisation.

Any change must have an overwhelmingly positive impact.

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