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OSR slams government's evidence for forcing multi-academy trusts

The Office for Statistics Regulation has pushed back against justifications for all schools to join multi-academy trusts by 2030.

EDUCATION unions repeated their demands for Tory ministers to abandon their “wholly ideological” academisation drive today, after government figures on the value of conversions were described as misleading by the independent statistics watchdog. 

The Office for Statistics Regulation agreed with the National Education Union (NEU) complaint that evidence offered by ministers attempting to justify their push for all schools in England to join multi-academy trusts by 2030 is badly flawed.

The statutory body said that the Department for Education’s data on the possible benefits of the plan was poor and there was a lack of transparency on how it had been drawn up. 

Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi has claimed that standards are driven up in academies, which receive direct government funding and can set their own curriculums and term times. 

However, Local Government Association figures suggest that more council-maintained schools are rated outstanding or good by Ofsted inspectors than their converted counterparts.

NEU joint general secretary Dr Mary Bousted said: “It is time for [Mr] 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.”

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