London, 28 March 2022 – Commenting on publication today of the Department for Education’s ‘Schools, opportunity for all’ white paper on the reform of academy trusts, Louise Thomson, NFP Policy Lead at The Chartered Governance Institute UK & Ireland (CGIUKI) said:
“Academy trusts have had a profound impact on school provision in England. While many will have benefitted from the freedoms that academy trusts enjoy, there continue to be governance challenges in the way academy trusts are run and regulated. This white paper proposes some much-needed changes and CGIUKI will actively engage with the Department for Education to help develop their thinking.
“With full academisation an aim for 2030 and with multi-academy trusts (MATs) required to consist of a minimum of ten schools or 7,500 pupils, boards will need to consider their due diligence arrangements when taking on new schools or joining a MAT. They will also need to consider the stakeholder engagement process required to assure parents and carers that their interests are fully considered.
“Good governance does not live in a vacuum and appropriate transparency and accountability are required to ensure that the proposed arrangements work for all parties. We have concerns that although the white paper commits to each academy trust having local governance arrangements, little detail is provided as to how that will differ, from current arrangements.
“The potential for schools to opt out of an academy trust family, under specific circumstances and subject to further consultation, is welcomed by CGIUKI, as is the opportunity for local authorities to establish academy trusts. Both measures will enhance parent and pupil choice. However, the detail of these proposals needs to be fully developed and reviewed to ensure the system encapsulates robust governance arrangements.
“CGIUKI will look closely at the forthcoming reviews and consultations mentioned in the white paper and engage with the Department to provide governance insight that helps the government achieve its vision for the education sector in England.”
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The Chartered Governance Institute UK & Ireland is the professional body for governance and the qualifying and membership body for governance professionals across all sectors. Its purpose under Royal Charter is to lead ‘effective governance and efficient administration of commerce, industry and public affairs’ working with regulators and policy makers to champion high standards of governance and providing qualifications, training and guidance. As a lifelong learning partner, the Institute helps governance professionals to achieve their professional goals, providing recognition, community and the voice of its membership.
One of nine divisions of the global Chartered Governance Institute, which was established 130 years ago, The Chartered Governance Institute UK & Ireland represents members working and studying in the UK and Ireland and in many other countries and regions including the Caribbean, parts of Africa and the Middle East. Website: www.cgi.org.uk