CentreForum’s Director of Education Data and Analysis, Jon Andrews, has made a submission on behalf CentreForum to the Education Select Committee inquiry on multi-academy trusts. You can find out more about the inquiry here:


The submission focuses on two areas of the inquiry:

  • The current MATs landscape, including the number, size, and geographical coverage of MATs; and
  • How the performance of MATs should be assessed.


  • The Government’s ambition of full academisation will require significant growth in the number, size and geographical reach of multi-academy trusts;
  • MATs are generally small in size and clustered within particular areas. Just under two-thirds of MATs are sponsor led, and larger MATs with a greater geographical spread tend to be linked with an academy sponsor;
  • Under CentreForum’s assumptions of how multi-academy trusts might grow and expand, we estimate that there would be capacity for approximately two thirds of schools that are currently maintained by local authorities;
  • The DfE’s proposed performance measures for MATs are a good basis on which to assess the performance of multi-academy trusts. We also consider that: DfE should also publish measures for local authorities; special schools should be incorporated; separate measures by pupil characteristics should be considered.
  • Based on the limited data that DfE have published it is the spread between the very best and the very worst, whether that’s academy chains or local authorities, that is most striking. More so than any differences between chains and local authorities. Tackling these differences is important regardless of how the academies system now expands. As well as for use in accountability these measures should be used to identify the best and worst performers and further research is needed on the drivers of their differing performance