Why the government is seeking multi-academy trust uptake


Government ministers want more schools to be part of multi-academy trusts and are “actively looking” at ways of making it happen, according to education secretary Gavin Williamson.

Speaking at the Foundation for Education Development summit, Mr Williamson said such partnerships would be a key part of recovering from the pandemic.

Viewed as a means of enhancing schools and driving improvement, the government is keen to encourage more academies into multi-academy trusts by 2025.

The education secretary’s comments echo those of the national school commissioner Dominic Herrington in 2020, who called on multi-academy trusts to use their resources to support vulnerable schools with recovery.

Mr Williamson likened a multi-academy trust to a strong family, suggesting that schools can benefit from close ties with other institutions in the same geographic area.

“Multi-academy trusts are powerful vehicles for improving schools by sharing expertise, working collaboratively and driving improvements,” he said. “It is living proof of the old adage, a problem shared is a problem halved.”

He added that pupils can benefit from the multi-academy trust model, suggesting that it can help to boost behaviour, as well as learning outcomes.

Supporting pupils in the classroom

Mr Williamson also backed teachers of pupils returning to the classroom in early March, speaking of the need for them to create a safe and organised learning environment.

“Evidence-based, traditional teacher-led lessons with children seated facing the expert at the front of the class are powerful tools for enabling a structured learning environment where everyone flourishes,” he said.

The education secretary also stressed the need for strong behavioural management in the coming weeks and that teachers have a role to play in ensuring that pupils are always striving to improve.

Children learn from each other,” he told the summit. “The culture must be universal and everyone should be taught to participate.”

He also suggested that such approaches can help pupils to understand the importance of good behaviour so they can see what they can achieve.

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