Health Checks to be performed on MATs – Friday 17 June 2016

This week I provide an update on the findings from the latest Education Select Committee meeting, report on the end of SGOSS providing governor search services and the DfE’s recommendation for the new HMCI for Ofsted.

15 June 2016 Commons Education Select Committee meeting
Earlier this week both the National Schools Commissioner, Sir David Carter and Ofsted’s Chief, Sir Michael Wilshaw gave evidence to the Education Select Committee on Multi-Academy Trusts (MATs). Sir David discussed his plans to perform ‘health checks’ on MATs that want to take on more schools, saying they will focus on standards and improvement, how much trusts improve the attainment of disadvantaged pupils and that they know “exactly how strong their great schools are and how weak their weakest ones are”.

Sir David also reported that since September 2014, 119 academies had been re-brokered because some of them were performing no better, or minimally better, than the failing schools from which they had taken over. Of those schools, 68 had gone from a multi-academy trust to another multi-academy trust and 51 and gone from a single academy trust to a multi-academy trust. He indicated the “re-brokerage solution” was an important tool for Regional Schools Commissioners challenging under-performance, but it was also disruptive, expensive and affected the children at the school. That was why Regional Commissioners tried to get involved with struggling academies before they got so bad that there was no other option but to find another sponsor and new management.

End of School Governors One Stop Shop (SGOSS)
From 31 August this year the Department for Education funding for SGOSS will be come to an end and it will no longer provide the school system with governor search services. The service will be re-directed to an expanded Education and Employers Taskforce which operates the Inspiring Governors service.

DfE recommends new Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector for Ofsted
On Friday last week the Secretary of State for Education recommended Amanda Spielman for the post of HMCI of Ofsted. If appointed, she will replace Sir Michael Wilshaw in December. Ms Spielman, co-founder of the academy chain ARK, is no stranger to governance having been Chair of Ofqual since 2011 and a board member of Brunel University, Floreat Education and Stemnet.

At present, this is only a recommendation for appointment and it will now be scrutinised by the Education Select Committee, who will present their conclusions to the Privy Council for consideration.