For many multi-academy trusts, whether newly formed or well established, the challenge of meeting and maintaining improvement goals across a family of schools over time can present real difficulties. Frequently, direct intervention from a strong school can deliver some quick performance ‘wins’ but evidence from the academies programme suggests that these gains are not easy to sustain.
The main challenge seems to be one of capacity. Most trusts have outstanding staff with a clear commitment to supporting colleagues in other schools, but it is often difficult for key individuals to be released to provide the depth of support required. It is an approach that seems more suited to a sticking plaster approach than a long-term fix.
We believe that academy trusts and other groups of schools need to look beyond their immediate body of SLEs and LLEs and invest in developing trust-wide expertise and capacity – for today and for the future.