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Office for Statistics Regulation slams the Government’s evidence for forcing all schools to join a multi-academy trust

Dr Mary Bousted, NEU

On 31 March, the National Education Union challenged the Department for Education on its questionable evidence base for a drive towards pushing schools into joining multi-academy trusts (MATs). Our analysis documents – The Government’s flawed case for a fully trust-led system, and What is the evidence for forcing schools into multi-academy trusts? – exposed the very poor justification behind these plans.

On 1 April, the NEU wrote to the Office for Statistics Regulation to highlight these flaws and ask for an adjudication on the Department for Education’s handling and presentation of data. 

The Office for Statistics Regulation has today agreed with the NEU’s complaint about the Government’s evidence document.  The OSR accepted that the NEU’s report showed that the DfE evidence was misleading because of:

  • a lack of transparency about how the statistics had been drawn up;
  • the statistics presented were of a poor quality;
  • that they could not be easily replicated; and
  • that the statistics were not reported independently of the White Paper.

Dr Mary Bousted, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union, said:

“The Government claims that its plan to force all schools to join a multi-academy trust is evidence led. However, after months of preparation the document it came up with was so flawed that the Office for Statistics Regulation have agreed with the NEU’s complaint that the report is misleading.

“This shows that there is no evidence that forcing all schools to join a multi-academy trust will improve schools. It is time for Nadhim Zahawi to withdraw his plan, which is now exposed as wholly ideological, and get back to what teachers and parents actually want the Government to focus on. The White Paper as it stands has nothing to say on the most urgent matters facing education.”

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