Expert believes primary schools joining MATs will do better in partnership than alone

The TES is reporting that the Chair of Whole Education John Dunford writes that multi-academy trusts (MATs) will be the future for primary schools.

Multi-academy trusts rooted in school improvement, professional development and high-quality teaching, learning and assessment are the right way forward, says the chair of Whole Education.

The future for small and medium-sized primary schools lies in multi-academy trusts (MATs), and this week a large number of schools will formally come together in MATs in every part of England. Some will have taken on academy status in order to join or create a MAT; others will already be academies. All are acting on the belief that they will do better in partnership than acting alone. And they are right.

Nobody should take the formation of a MAT lightly. It is a huge amount of work, which falls mainly on the headteacher and business manager of the partnership or lead school.

MATs that are rooted in school improvement, professional development and high-quality teaching, learning and assessment are the right way forward for many schools. For primary schools particularly, or for cross-phase MATs, the opportunities for pupils and staff will be hugely increased. This is a reform worth supporting.

More at: Expert believes primary schools joining MATs will do better in partnership than alone

Do you think that MATs are the future for primary schools? Let us know in the comments below or via Twitter. ~ Meena

Are you a trainee teacher, NQT, teacher, headteacher, parent or  just someone who cares about education and has something to get off  your chest in a Schools Improvement Guest Post? Follow this link for more details at the bottom of the page.

Don’t forget you can sign up to receive our daily email bulletin (around 7am) with all the latest schools news stories. Your details will never be given to anyone else and you can unsubscribe at any stage. Just follow this link.

We now have a Facebook page - please click to like!




Only 38% of pupils plan on applying to university
Top adviser calls for rethink over demanding grammar tests
Categories: Academies and Primary.


  1. Nairb1

    Mr. Dunford seems to be deliberately avoiding mentioning that it’s perfectly possible for schools to enter a formal collaboration without becoming academies at all.

  2. gov2

    Wow, an expert!  Must be totally right, then.
    Oh wait.
    Lots of primary (and other) schools are creating or joining MATs, or thinking about doing so, as they fear the government will otherwise force them to join horrible organisations run by self-appointed experts and/or predatory secondary schools looking to loot primary sector resources having gullibly spent their way through the academy conversion bribe money.  Not so much what they want to do, more what they feel they have to do to prevent something much worse.
    What evidence is their for the assertion that most of the work is done by professional staff rather than unpaid governor volunteers?
    MATs are the Government’s way to set up schools for handing over to edu-businesses out to make a profit.  Where’s the evidence that they improve teaching and learning?
    Perhaps ‘experts’ are mostly expert at parroting Government propaganda.

  3. clivetaylor915

    educationbear Itsdihere
    If an “expert” says so it must be true.
    Retail, banking, polling experts-great guys. No personal agenda at all.

  4. As soon as schools join MATs they lose autonomy – how much freedom they receive depends on how much the MAT will allow them.  For example, the Learn
    Academies Trust which John Dunford refers to, is the renamed Great Bowden Academy Ltd.  Its annual accounts for y/e 31/8/15 say its Mission Statement begins ‘Believing in a loving God…’.   That’s fine for a designated faith school but would non-faith schools joining LAT be expected to take on the same mission statement?
    Neither Great Bowden Academy Ltd nor Learn Academies Trust is on the DfE approved sponsor list but that’s not surprising as it hasn’t been updated since January.   This laxity rather suggests the DfE isn’t quite on top of things.

  5. Nairb1 The MAT (Learn Academies Trust) which Dunford’s school is joining was already part of the Harborough Collaborative Trust and a ‘strategic partner’ of the Affinity Teaching Schools Alliance.   It’s annual accounts for y.e 31.8.15 said it had ‘improved educational outcomes  by collaborative work…across the schools and academies of the Harborough Collaborative Trust’.
    As you say, no need to go down the MAT route.

  6. Alan OSullivan

    Janet2 Have you ever thought about sharing your expertise and findings with ‘Private Eye’ magazine as your feedback deserves a wider circulation still.

  7. Alan OSullivan

    Dun ford clearly suffers from selective memory syndrome as it was perfectly possible for schools to collaborate with each other even when they were functioning as Local Maintained. Any head teacher with an ounce of vision will  recognise the many benefits of networking with other borough ( and indeed outer borough) beacon schools of excellence. Regional advisory services can also be a force for real good by way of professionally developing Subject Leaders etc.

  8. @gov2 Alan OSullivan Janet2 Lord Gnome could afford me – I come free.  I’m prepared to work with anyone re education.  I’m most likely to be found on the Local Schools Network.  Sometimes my investigations are picked up by the media – my finding that Michael Gove had used dodgy surveys to underpin claims of teenagers’ historical ignorance caused much hilarity in some papers (although not the Daily Mail, funnily enough, where Gove had made the claims).  It even made the Independent’s front page
    I also occasionally write articles in Schools Week where I also make regular comments under their articles.
    Love to see you and other School Improvement Net regulars on LSN or Schools Week.

Let us know what you think...