Responding to the Secretary of State’s announcement of new measures intended to improve education standards, NSN Director Unity Howard said:

"It is vital that Government policy focusses on areas of the country that have been left behind and schools that have been struggling for decades. To deliver the high expectations parents want from our schools, equal scrutiny for Ofsted inspections is essential, particularly under the new framework.

Boosting the capacity of MATs and supporting expansion is fundamental to raising standards. However, the new funding must not be limited to the ‘strongest academy trusts’ but should also support the growth of smaller innovative trusts. Allowing these small trusts to expand is an essential step to identify the MATs of the future, share best practice, and allow the sector to be more agile in responding to underperformance.

Under the current sponsorship model there is a clear lack of incentive for existing academy trusts to take on the most challenging schools. We outlined this issue in our recent report, Free Schools: the next 10 years.  We strongly support the government addressing this gap and look forward to hearing further details on how this will be achieved. The specialist academy trust model should heed the successes of the free school policy, ensuring innovation and community is at the heart of the process, backed by the specific expertise required to deliver higher standards that parents and pupils deserve."

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