The TES is reporting that a ‘power struggle’ between academy chain leaders and their headteachers is thwarting the government’s policy to push more schools to join multi-academy trusts, new research suggests.
According to the report, published by the thinktank Reform, just 20 per cent of academy chains have full control of all of their academies’ finances, which is resulting in a “power struggle” between MAT chief executives and their heads.
Giving money directly to trusts, the report states, would mean the CEO and the chain would “more formally be regarded as the employer of all staff in the school, as it already legally is”.
The report also finds:
- Many academy chains are unwilling to take on “struggling schools” due to concerns about schools with poor finances, with small pupil rolls and those in remote areas. This is despite MATs wanting to expand;
- More than a third of chains have declined requests to take on more schools;
- Most chains report being too small to achieve financial efficiencies;
- The right to approve academies should be taken away from the Department of Education and given to an independent body;
- The government should allow maintained schools and academies to pay local governors;
- The DfE should create an online sponsor forum to enable academy chains to swap their schools.
The survey found that most chain leaders believe a MAT needs at least 10 schools if it is to achieve financial efficiencies, but the vast majority run between just two and five.
Amy Finch, head of education at Reform and co-author of the report, said: “The current system for funding academy chain growth is a mess. The government could do better by pooling the many funding streams it runs into one struggling school premium which, on top of per-pupil funding, would encourage the best chains to take on schools in difficulties.”
Do you think the trusts should be given the money for the schools directly? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or on Twitter. ~ Sophie
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