Updated guidance explains how Ofsted will carry out summary evaluations of multi-academy trusts.

Ofsted has today (14 September), launched updated guidance for summary evaluations of multi-academy trusts (MATs).

Summary evaluations look at the extent to which a MAT is delivering high quality education and improving pupils’ outcomes.

The updates to this guidance ensure that summary evaluations will mirror the education inspection framework, introduced in 2019, to focus on the quality of education as seen through the curriculum. It will also allow us to increase the volume of summary evaluations, and the breadth of MATs inspected, so that we gain better insight into the role of multi-academy trusts.

The evaluations have two stages. During stage 1, batched inspections of a MAT’s academies are carried out, and, once all the inspection reports have been published, the stage 2 summary evaluation takes place. This is not the same as an inspection and is carried out with the consent and cooperation of the MAT being reviewed.

Ofsted will consider key information about the MAT, including inspection outcomes, discussions with MAT leaders, and survey visits to some of the academies not previously inspected in stage 1. The aim of the evaluation is to give the MAT helpful recommendations on aspects of provision that could be improved, and to recognise where the MAT is having a positive impact on the quality of education that its academies provide.

We will select a broad range of MATs for evaluations, including smaller and specialist MATs, not just those that may be a cause for concern. This is to ensure that we can gain an accurate and balanced understanding of the contribution that MATs make to the school system, highlighting areas of strength that can be shared more widely and providing insight into any weaknesses.

At the end of the summary evaluation, inspectors will offer oral feedback on their findings to the MAT’s senior leaders before publishing a letter on the Ofsted reports website.

Amanda Spielman, Ofsted Chief Inspector said:

Multi-academy trusts form a large part of our educational landscape and many decisions about the day-to-day running of an academy take place at trust level. It’s important, therefore, that we have conversations with the trust about the quality of education provided across their academies.

By visiting more MATs, we will be able to gain a better understanding of their contribution to the school system. And we will be able to share valuable insights and information that can help the sector improve.

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Published 14 September 2021