Thinking about the year ahead

As the education world speeds along to the end of the school year, the DfE and other national organisations have been busy publishing their research, findings and ideas about governance and the structure of schools across the country:

The DfE have published their annual summary paper on schools, pupils and characteristics in England – which indicates that in January 2019 there were 84,700 more pupils in the system than the previous year and growth in the secondary sector is likely to increase over the coming years.

The ESFA Academies Financial Handbook update is out – changes are summarised on page 8 – including additional guidance on role of clerk, executive pay, internal audit, and new guidance on estate management.

The National Governance Association (NGA) have produced a well-received report on the state of governance which will have resonance with those involved in governance within academies.  Moving MATs forward: the power of governance raises important questions for debate:

  • Is the role of trust members in MATs currently concentrating power in the hands of a small number of individuals?
  • Is school improvement best served by geographically dispersed MATs?
  • Should growing MATs above a certain size be discouraged?
  • What are the implications of the changing role of school leaders in MATs and how might these work best?

The NGA, ASCL and Brown Jacobson have updated their guidance papers on things to think about when considering joining a group of schools – these are really useful starter guidance documents for trustees and governors and have been updated to include aspects such as growth and mergers.

The New Schools Network have recently celebrated their ten year anniversary with the publication of a report: Free Schools: The next ten years which promotes the concept of free schools and includes recommendations around revitalising the free school programme ‘to ensure we spread educational opportunity and unlock real social justice’.

And finally the Confederation of Schools Trusts (CST) are currently calling for evidence to develop their own ‘sector-led White Paper’ on the future shape of England’s education system.  They are proposing a vision focused on the implementation of one system for schools, with ‘many operating as part of a group or school trust’. More information and access to the survey is available here. The survey closes at the end of the month.


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