When schools are converting to academy status as part of a Multi-Academy Trust (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 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: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/517565/RSC-Decision-Making-Framework.pdf
As set out in the White Paper Educational Excellence Everywhere, we will publish ‘design principles’, which will explain the basis on which RSCs will expect to approve MATs and single-academy trusts. Alongside this, the Department is exploring the development of a MAT ‘health check review’. The intention of this is to support the sustainable growth of MATs by proving an opportunity for them to undergo an assessment of their capacity to grow. The development of this proposal is at an early stage. Current thinking is, however, that it will assess their readiness for growth across key themes including track record for school improvement.