Ofsted to introduce new MAT inspection regime


School inspectorate Ofsted is set to introduce a new inspection regime for multi-academy trusts (MATs) in the coming weeks.

According to the watchdog’s annual report, new summary evaluations will be introduced that will see groups of schools within the same trust inspected across a period of one or two terms.

Feedback sessions will then be held with school leaders once the reports are published, which will be different to current methodology.

Ofsted inspects groups of schools during a single week under the existing framework, while the inspectorate is keen to have greater powers to inspect academy trust headquarters and other functions.

Assessing quality

The watchdog has said the latest changes will “allow us to get a better handle on quality across a MAT”.

“In December, following some targeted piloting and inspector training, we will be changing the process for reviewing MATs by introducing MAT summary evaluations,” the report states.

“Building on our practice over the past four years, we will continue to inspect groups of schools in a MAT that are due to be inspected, but rather than doing so in a single week, these will be carried out across one or two terms.”

Ofsted first indicated a willingness to change how MATs are inspected back in September, although it was not always clear what approach would be taken.

More time for analysis

Discussing outcomes with leaders once the reports are published is a deemed a better approach, as currently those meetings take place in the immediate aftermath of inspections when the reports are not finished.

“This offers more time to draw out common themes and gives MAT leaders opportunity for reflection,” Ofsted suggests.

“In order to provide a balanced picture of quality in the sector, these evaluations will look at high-performing MATs as well as those where we might have concerns.”