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No unique formula for MAT sustainability, research finds

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New research has found that there is no consistent combination of characteristics that makes the difference when it comes to running a sustainable multi-academy trust (MAT).

Education charity Ambition School Leadership has today published the findings of its research into how MATs can maintain or improve pupil outcomes while growing.

Data relating to the size, school phases, school types, pupil characteristics, geographical spread and rate of growth of 402 MATs was used to examine how well MATs performed in terms of pupil progress, school improvement, outcomes for disadvantaged pupils and financial sustainability.

Nineteen of the trusts examined were identified as high performing in one or more of these areas. However, no one structural feature was consistently linked to sustainable growth.

Ambition School Leadership commissioned the Education Policy Institute to look for relationships between the characteristics of MATs and the outcomes that they achieve.

Ambition School Leadership CEO James Toop says: “Our research shows there is no unique formula for creating a high performing multi-academy trust.

“Ambition develops heads as they move into executive roles and grow their trusts. We are now testing the hypothesis that the most important thing for creating a sustainable MAT is the coherence between the organisation’s vision, strategy and operating model.”

These findings are the first release of a three-phase project examining sustainability in MATs. Parts two and three, due for release in January 2018, will look at how MATs have to change the way they operate as they grow. It will investigate how MAT leaders achieve coherence between their vision, strategy and operations. 

Download their report.

Page Published: 08/11/2017