A new report has revealed that many high-performing multi-academy trusts (MATs) are resisting standardising the curriculum.

Sustainable Improvement in Multi-school Groups, produced by Professor Toby Greany of the University of Nottingham, explored at Trusts, teaching school alliances, federations and local authorities.

The report found that most MATs do not have a standardised approach to curriculum and pedagogy, although many are working towards this. However, it also noted that some of the “above-average performers” are “consciously resisting” standardisation in these areas, arguing that schools need a good level of autonomy to meet contextual needs and to drive continuing improvement and innovation. On the other hand, the “below-average performing” Trusts working to stabilise under-performing schools tended to be more prescriptive.

Several MATs had individual academies that had “resisted” moves by the central team to develop shared processes or capacity for support, but this was outweighed by the almost 90% of MAT Heads who said that their Trust has a clearly defined model for school improvement which underpins the way they work.

The report also found that MATs undertake regular reviews of progress in the schools they support, including reviews of pupil assessment data and periodic formal reviews. Most MATs produce reports that combine pupil assessment data with pupil characteristics data to analyse school and trust-level performance and to hold leaders to account.

Last reviewed 2 January 2019