William Eichler 28 March 2022

Councils to be allowed to set up multi-academy trusts

Councils to be allowed to set up multi-academy trusts image
Image: Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock.com.

Local authority leaders have welcomed the Government’s plan to allow councils to set up and run their own multi-academy trusts.

Education secretary Nadhim Zahawi today published the Schools White Paper, entitled Opportunity for All, which aims to see all schools converted to academies by the end of the decade.

It also aims for 90% of primary school children to achieve the expected standard in Key Stage 2 reading, writing and maths by 2030.

The Schools White Paper, the first in six years, states that schools will offer a minimum school week of 32.5 hours by September 2023.

It also says that Ofsted will inspect every school by 2025 and that the Education Endowment Foundation will receive £100m to put it on a long-term footing.

The white paper also states that by 2030 all children will be taught in a school that will be in, or in the process of joining, a multi-academy trust (Mat). The Government will make £86m available to grow and strengthen multi-academy trusts over the next three years, with a particular focus on Education Investment Areas.

Mr Zahawi described the white paper as ‘levelling up in action.’

‘The Opportunity for All White Paper will deliver for every child, parent and family, living anywhere from rural villages, to coastal towns through to the largest cities, by making sure all children have access to a school that meets our current best standards, harnessing the incredible energy and expertise of the one million people that work in schools,’ he said.

‘Any child who falls behind in maths or English will get the support they need to get back on track, and schools will also be asked to offer at least a 32.5 hour school week by September 2023.

‘We know what works in schools and we are scaling up to ensure that every child can expect interesting, enriching lessons. Parents rightly expect a world class education for their children and that is what we will deliver.’

Responding to the white paper’s publication, Cllr Lucy Nethsingha, deputy chair of the Local Government Association’s (LGA) Children and Young People Board, said: ‘We are pleased Government has acted on our call for councils to be allowed to set up their own multi-academy trusts (MATs).

‘Councils have an excellent track record in providing a high-quality education for pupils with 92% of maintained schools rated by Ofsted as outstanding or good – a higher proportion than any other type of school. The Government should go further and allow councils to support ‘orphan’ schools where Regional School Commissioners are struggling to find a strong MAT to take them on.

‘It is also good councils are to be given powers to direct all schools, including academies, to admit pupils that are out-of-school and make sure they are back in the classroom as quickly as possible.

‘We now look forward to working with the Department for Education to make sure we provide an education system that is inclusive and works for all children, including those with special educational needs.’

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