Why Ofsted chief suggests MAT evaluations to return in 2022


Summary evaluations of multi-academy trusts across England could resume in the early part of 2022, Ofsted’s chief inspector has suggested.

Speaking at the Confederation of Schools Trusts (CST) annual conference, Amanda Spielman revealed that evaluations will return as soon as is practical.

Ofsted uses summary evaluations to assess the overall quality of leadership and education within multi-academy trusts, with the process often involving visits to a number of schools.

Normally carried out throughout the year, the evaluations have not taken place since March 2020, when they were suspended as a result of the pandemic.

Ms Spielman also commented on education secretary Gavin Williamson’s vision for schools, after he announced a raft of measures designed to help schools become academies in April.

“Strong trusts help schools to move up a gear, if you like, and are quick to act if a school goes into reverse,” she said.

Ms Spielman also warned that “no structure is perfect or a magic bullet”, but that England’s education structure is both innovative and highly flexible in its approach.

“Success comes down to what happens on the ground and for Ofsted’s part, our job is to remain agnostic about structures – we care about how good education and safeguarding are,” she said.

Leora Cruddas, chief executive of CST, said Ms Spielman was “right that there is a conversation to be had on how we can help persistently weak schools improve”.

She suggested that effective trusts can provide a degree of resilience against failure, as most have a “collaborative framework that intentionally develops a knowledge-building approach across their schools”.

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