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Today we are publishing the final report from our research into governing bodies that consider joining federations and multi-academy trusts (MATs). These reports are the culmination of a one year research project involving 14 groups of schools that have considered creating a federation or MAT. The study looked at the reasons why governing bodies consider federation, who influences the decision, and what barriers are faced. There is a summary report that is publically available, and a full report that is available to members only. The key findings from the study are:
NGA decided to undertake this research project as we were aware that there is a lack of research on how and why some governors decide to federate and others don’t. The coalition government has been somewhat reluctant to promote federation in local authority maintained schools – for example, Lord Nash referred to it as a “second best model” compared to academy conversion. However, the NGA has long sung the benefits of federating, for example, in our evidence to the recent Education Select Committee inquiry into School Partnerships and Cooperation. We were pleased that, the Committee recommended that the government should widen its funding for partnerships beyond the sponsored academy route; specifically, the Primary Chains Grant should be extended to federations. Our research included several federations of primary schools where governors did not consider academy conversion to be the right path for them. Of course joining or creating a MAT is the right choice for some schools, but we are keen that governing bodies have a range of options and the knowledge and support to make the right decision for their school at that time.
For the majority of participants of this research, federation has been a great success and afforded all schools involved numerous advantages. We hope that the experiences of these governing bodies will help those considering or in the early stages of federating or joining a MAT. We’d like to thank everyone that contributed to this study and BELMAS for providing funding.
The Road to Federation - Summary report
The Road to Federation - Full report (only members will be able to access)