Release date: 25/11/2016

A strategy for improving education in the north of England has been published this week. The former chancellor George Osborne had commissioned a review into education in the North to support his ‘northern powerhouse’ project. The review was led by Sir Nick Weller, Chief Executive of Dixons Academies, a multi academy trust (MAT) based in Yorkshire.

Sir Nick makes a number of recommendations about many aspects of the education system in the North. One of his main contentions is that in order to improve schools in the North, the amount of multi academy trusts must increase: “The academies movement has progressed more slowly in the North and I believe accelerating growth of MATs is key to driving up standards…I believe we need to be more challenging to successful schools in the North, who should feel a moral imperative to support struggling schools through sponsorship arrangements”.

You can read all of the recommendations by clicking the link below, but some of the main ones for governance include:

  • new academy trusts should review their governance arrangements and in many cases must recruit governors with additional skills if governing bodies are to successfully transition into their new role as a board of trustees
  • the DfE (Department for Education) should use their review of governance training activity to assess the specific development needs of MAT boards and MAT board chairs, and should fund training and development activity to meet these
  • the DfE should ensure that funded programmes to recruit people to governance roles (Academy Ambassadors and Inspiring Governance) address the particular issues faced by northern schools and MATs when planning campaigns to recruit new volunteers to governing boards
  • governing boards of standalone academy trusts and small MATs of 1–3 academies should consider amalgamating with others to build a more sustainable MAT

Read the review of evidence on education in the north of England.

Read a northern powerhouse schools strategy by Sir Nick Weller.

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