Dan Peters 11 March 2016

'Serious weaknesses' at seven multi-academy trusts highlighted

Many multi-academy trusts (MATs) have been manifesting the ‘same weaknesses as the worst-performing local authorities’, the chief inspector of schools has warned.

In a letter to education secretary to Nicky Morgan, Sir Michael Wilshaw wrote: ‘Despite having operated for a number of years, many of the trusts manifested the same weaknesses as the worst performing local authorities and offered the same excuses.

He added: ‘There has been much criticism in the past of local authorities failing to take swift action with struggling schools.

‘Given the impetus of the academies programme to bring about rapid improvement, it is of great concern that we are not seeing this in these seven MATs and that, in some cases, we have even seen decline.’

The Government has been keen to move to a fully academised system, and Whitehall will soon be given the power to ‘address failing and coasting schools’.

Cllr Roy Perry, chairman of the Local Government Association’s Children and Young People Board, said: ‘Only 15% of the largest academy chains perform above the national average in terms of progress made by pupils, compared with 44% of councils, while more than 80% of maintained schools are rated as "good" or "outstanding" by Ofsted.

‘Councils are education improvement partners and not a barrier to change. It's vital that we concentrate on the quality of education and a school's ability to do the very best for all children, rather than on the legal status of a school.’

For more on this story, visit The MJ (£).

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