MPs Question Schools Merger Plans

Sunday, 26th March 2017

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Park Hill Primary School
Park Hill Primary School

Moseley parents fighting plans to merge seven city schools into a multi-academy trust have welcomed a report from MPs questioning the performance of these trusts.

The seven schools looking to join forces to create the multi-academy trust are Park Hill Primary, Kings Heath Primary, Wheelers Lane Primary, Queensbridge School, Kings Heath Boys, Swanshurst School and Wheelers Lane Technology College. But parents are worried the proposed merger could set back the education of 5,500 pupils.

Now, the House of Commons Education Select Committee has found that evidence of multi-academy trusts (known as MATs) improving pupils’ results is “limited”. The trusts are run free from local council oversight or control.

The cross-party group of MPs carried out an inquiry following an explosion of MATs with 1,121 now set up compared to just 391 in 2011. Its report concluded these trusts had expanded too quickly and the performance of their schools had suffered. It also called for more to be done to ensure they could be properly held to account by Ofsted and local communities.

Committee chairman Neil Carmichael said: “We have significant concerns about the performance, accountability and expansion of multi-academy trusts. While some MATs are producing excellent results and making a valuable contribution to our education system, a considerable number are failing to improve and are consistently at the bottom of league tables.”

A newly set up group called “Love Brum Schools” is calling for the schools, which are already rated good or outstanding by Ofsted, to work together under a looser coalition and avoid the risk of decline. They highlighted recent controversies at Birmingham’s Perry Beeches and Baverstock academies to show the pitfalls.

A group spokeswoman said: “The group is campaigning for schools to engage with stakeholders in a transparent, meaningful and balanced manner. This should include consideration of the pros and cons of multi-academy trusts and clear presentation of what the schools hope to achieve under an MAT that could not be achieved in other ways, such as co-operative trusts and federations.”

The schools are due to publish a consultation document by Easter. For further information on the Love Brum Schools campaign check out the website