Department for Education written question – answered at on 20 July 2016.

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Photo of Stephen Timms Stephen Timms Labour, East Ham

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to her oral evidence to the Education Committee on 27 April 2016, q180-181, HC402, whether it is her Department's policy to prevent multi-academy trusts from expanding until they have a track record of improving their existing schools.

Photo of Edward Timpson Edward Timpson Minister of State (Education)

We want schools to operate in strong, resilient structures which raise standards, and this means we expect that most schools will form or join Multi-Academy Trusts (MATs). MATs are the best long-term formal arrangements for stronger schools to support the improvement of weaker schools.

When schools are converting to academy status as part of a MAT or joining an existing MAT, it is the Regional Schools Commissioner’s (RSC) role to decide, on behalf of the Secretary of State, whether to approve or decline the application. The RSC, supported by their headteacher board, will want to be assured that the governance and leadership of the MAT is clear and robust; and that the MAT has the capacity to drive improvement across all schools within it. This information can be found in the RSC decision-making framework on GOV.UK at:

The Department is looking to develop new mechanisms to support MATs to grow sustainably. As set out in the White Paper Educational Excellence Everywhere, this will include the publication of ‘design principles’ to provide more information about what we know about successful MATs and to explain the basis on which RSCs will expect to approve MATs and single-academy trusts.

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