Skip to content
School structures

The schools system: the voice of MAT trustees

Views from MAT trustees on the government's white paper proposals.


The government's 2022 white paper set out its vision for the schools system in England.

Despite uncertainty around how these proposals will be progressed, NGA continues to engage with the Department for Education (DfE) regarding ongoing policy development. Through these conversations, NGA has endeavoured to reflect perspectives from across the governance community.

Research overview

NGA conducted a survey of multi academy trust (MAT) trustees in summer 2022, asking questions relating to the white paper, Schools Bill and regulatory review. We received detailed responses from over 100 trustees, providing valuable insight.

This report sets out themes arising from the survey responses, covering:

  • oversight and regulation
  • trusts and inspection
  • size and shape of trusts
  • commissioning
  • trust strength and strategic governance
  • the shape of the future system

Key findings

The report highlights areas of support and concern for MAT trustees:

  1. Many of the white paper proposals are not supported by trustees. Respondents shared a range of views but showed scepticism around the proposal for a fully academised system by 2030.
  2. A majority favour more stringent trust standards and greater transparency. However, there are a variety of views within the sector that the DfE need to take note of.
  3. Locality, size and impact on pupils need to be more thoroughly examined in relation to the government's vision for the schools system.

The report illustrates that there does not appear to be sufficient support in the sector to prioritise pushing on immediately with the full vision, especially at this time when other issues, in particular around funding, staffing and SEND, are so pressing.

  • “…geographic distribution is important...more care should be given to common ethos and values of the family of schools as well as the pupil numbers/number of schools.”

    MAT trustee and survey respondent

    NGA blog

    Three debates at the heart of MAT governance

    Academy trusts are diverse in many ways. Our research on MAT governance has triggered three main debates around local governance, stakeholder engagement and the future system.

    We set out these themes, and the evidence supporting them, in a blog authored by NGA Chief Executive, Emma Knights.

    Read the blog

    Related content