Schools in North Somerset are run by ‘too many academy trusts’


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Too many multi-academy trusts are running North Somerset schools according to Government leaders.

Schools in the district are currently run by eight multi-academy trusts (MATs) – a single body which is responsible for running a number of schools.

It is expected even more schools will become part of MATs by September 2018, as North Somerset Council is losing its £1.6million education grant from the Government, meaning the services it provides to schools will come to an end.

Schools are expected to join MATs to ensure they have enough money to run.

Sheila Smith, the council’s director of people and communities, said the Government’s regional schools commissioner believes there are already too many MATs running the district’s schools.

However, the commissioner, Rebecca Clark, cannot force MATs to stop running schools.

Ms Smith said: “At the moment schools are in one of eight different multi-academy trusts. The commissioner believes a place the size of North Somerset does not need eight MATs, so there will be further evaluation, not just in North Somerset but across the piste.

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“It was made clear they are looking at North Somerset and will be seeking to persuade schools the number of MATs needs to reduce.”

MATs in North Somerset include the Clevedon Learning Trust, which runs Clevedon School and Tickenham Primary School.

Pill’s Crockerne Primary School and St Katherine’s School are part of the Inspirational Futures Trust.

A Department for Education spokesman told the Times it has no powers to reduce the number of MATs. However, if a MAT was deemed to be failing its schools by education watchdog Ofsted, changes could be made.

The Government laid out a plan in March last year for all schools to convert into academies by 2020.

It later backtracked on this policy, but because of reductions to local authority funding, many schools are effectively being forced to convert to academies so they can maximise the amount of money they have to run.

Ms Smith said: “While we have schools in North Somerset who don’t want to become academies for a number of reasons, they are increasingly recognising they could be left on their own in quite a difficult position.”