MATs v Council-maintained? What does the evidence tell us about relative performance? May 2022

Council-maintained schools in England outperform academies in Ofsted rankings, according to analysis published on the day the government’s ambitions for all schools to join multi-academy trusts (Mats) are expected to be outlined in the Queen’s speech (9 May 2022).

Research conducted on behalf of the Local Government Association (LGA) found 92% of council-maintained schools were ranked outstanding or good by Ofsted in January 2022, compared with 85% of academies that have been graded since they converted. Council-maintained schools in England outperform academies in Ofsted rankings.  It also found only 45% of academies that were already an academy in August 2018 managed to improve standards from inadequate or requires improvement to good or outstanding, compared with 56% of council-maintained schools.

A Department for Education spokesperson said: “The evidence quoted by the Local Government Association fails to take into account many schools will join trusts to address historic underperformance, which can take a number of years, or more than one cycle of Ofsted inspections.

“Our data from over the past decade shows strong academy trusts can transform underperforming schools. More than seven out of 10 schools which became academies due to underperformance in inspections while they were local authority maintained schools now have a good or outstanding Ofsted rating.

“That is why we are opening new routes for schools to join a strong academy trust, including by working with local authorities to allow them to establish trusts for the first time.”

So, who do YOU believe?

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