School Groups and the Academy System: Where next?


We're pleased to be sponsoring the Education Policy Institute (EPI) launch event of their final report of their ‘Effective School Groups’ research project: ‘School Groups and the Academy System: Where next?’

School groups – such as academy trusts, federations, dioceses and local authorities – are a central fixture of England’s school system today. Previous research has measured the effectiveness of these groups, but this has mainly focused on pupil progress and attainment. 

In Spring 2024, EPI will publish the final report in their ‘Features of Effective School Groups’ series, which aims to evaluate school groups based on a broad set of metrics to help understand what a ‘good’ school group looks like. It presents a more holistic lens, looking across workforce sustainability, inclusion and financial metrics, allowing relative strengths and weaknesses to be identified. This final report will also draw on findings from the Decisions in Education in England Panel (DEEP) survey, which aims to capture the decisions and policies currently being implemented across MATs and other school groups in England. Alongside this report, the EPI will be launching an online tool which will allow users to explore the metrics for a given school group and compare its metrics with other school groups. 

To accompany the launch, EPI is organising a public event to share the findings of the report and hold a broader discussion on the state of the academy system in England today. Whilst the target for all schools in England to have joined a multi-academy trust (MAT) by 2030 has been abandoned, the number of schools in multi-academy trusts continues to grow. This transfers some responsibilities for the educational outcomes and wellbeing of increasing numbers of children away from local authorities. Through this timely discussion, the EPI will bring together policymakers, school and MAT leaders, unions and other sector stakeholders to consider the role and performance of school groups in the education sector today. This will include conversation on how schools should be evaluated in a way that supports pupil and staff wellbeing, attainment and sustainability, as well as how oversight of the system should look moving forwards. 

Visit the EPI website to learn more. 

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