Multi-academy trusts are ‘key’ to raising standards in northern schools, review claims

Accelerating the growth of multi-academy trusts (MATs) ‘is key to driving up standards’ in the North, according to an independent review commissioned by the government.

Sir Nick Weller, chief executive of the Bradford-based Dixons Academies Trust, was commissioned to write the report by former chancellor George Osborne, and former education secretary Nicky Morgan.

Weller believes that academy sponsorship ‘is an important school improvement mechanism’ and suggests that the movement has ‘progressed more slowly in the North’, which has limited school improvement in the region.

He calls on northern local authorities to do more to support academy programmes and ‘facilitate the growth of strong and effective multi academy trusts’ because ‘it is in the interests of local children and young people to do so’.

Additionally, Weller argues that ’strong MATs require strong leaders’ and advises the Department for Education to assign funding to MAT CEOs from northern ‘cold spot’ areas to attend training, as well as fund a a mentoring scheme whereby successful MAT CEOs from across the country mentor CEOs of new or expanding
MATs in the North.

There a number of other recommendations included in the review, including launching a new ‘Teach North’ scheme to attract newly quality teachers to disadvantaged schools in the region.

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