Last week there were several developments relating to the way multi-academy trusts (MATs) are held to account for their performance.
Forum Education has published a new report on the role of Ofsted in the inspection of MATs, which focuses on the form this inspection could or should take. The report suggests that inspection of MATs should include consideration of:
the MAT’s documents detailing its structure, vision and strategy
governance as a “central pillar”, including consideration of the skills and knowledge of the board, its committees and the support and challenge provided
the sustainability of a MAT, including its leadership and financial management
the relationship between the MAT and individual schools
Questioned on the same topic by MPs on the Education Select Committee last Wednesday, Ofsted’s Chief Inspector Amanda Spielman reiterated the inspectorate’s desire to gain formal powers to inspect MATs. She reflected that “accountability systems need to reflect the way that the system actually operates today” and, asked about resources, said that efficient inspection at MAT level would mean some aspects of inspection would not then need to be replicated in every school.
Separately, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Lord Agnew, wrote to the Education Select Committee to “reassure the committee that the [Department for Education (DfE)] takes MAT accountability and transparency of oversight very seriously”. He said that strengthening the links between the DfE’s work on educational standards and the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) oversight of financial performance was one of his top priorities.