Re-joining the dots

Last March in this post I set out some of the statistics relating to academies and how they were arranging themselves. As the DfE have just published an updated list of Academies I thought it would be useful to try and see what has changed in the past year and a half.

Note that some of the figures are not entirely comparable as I have included the Free Schools in this years figures. I have also added in the pipeline converters that have been approved and the sponsored academies that have had a sponsor approved. I think this gives us a better overview of where we are.

Please note that I am somewhat at the mercy of the DfE for some of this analysis as they only provide a name for a sponsoring academy, not a unique reference number. It looks like they have been fairly consistent but I’m using this as my get out for total accuracy.

Where appropriate March 2016 figures are in brackets in text and noted in the tables.

Overall Hot Take

  • The rate of academisation has increased since I last did a summary.
  • There are small signs of consolidation into viable sized MATs but this is happening very slowly.
  • As a work in progress this “system” needs more support than it is getting.
  • There are 180 MATS with 5 or more schools in them which do not on the face of it appear to be currently viable.

The Detail

Firstly, the overall stats. And please bear in mind that all these numbers are based on the September 2017 data release.

There are currently 7,742 open or pipeline approved academies (excluding 87 UTCs and Studio Schools, but including1,039 pipeline converters, sponsored schools and Free Schools). This compares to March 2016 with 5,170 open academies (this excludes Free Schools, Studio Schools and UTCs, and 703 schools in the ‘pipeline’ for conversion at that time). So perhaps a better like for like comparison is 6,703 compared to 5,170. This is a 30% increase over the period, or 86 conversions per month (compared to 56 per month in March last year). So the rate of conversion is increasing.

Lets see how the current figures look. From now on these will all include the pipeline and Free School figures.

Phase of Education Converter Sponsored Free School Total Mar-16
Primary (incl. middle deemed primary) 3,377 1,313 150 4,840 2,949
Secondary (incl. MD secondary, all through and 16+) 1,584 712 111 2,407 2,007
Special 230 53 29 312 169
Alternative Provision 63 24 38 125 45
Total 5,254 2,102 328 7,684 5,170

As percentages of schools this is:

Type of Establishment Primary Secondary Total
Academies 28% 68% 35%
Free Schools 1% 3% 1%
LA Maintained 71% 29% 64%

This is an increase from 26% overall to 36%.

Size of chain

This is a complete list of all chains with 10 or more schools:

Name Primary Secondary Other Total
Academies Enterprise Trust (AET) 32 27 5 64
REAch2 Academy Trust 56 0 0 56
Oasis Community Learning 30 19 0 49
Harris Federation 20 25 1 46
United Learning 16 30 0 46
Delta Academies Trust 26 14 3 43
Kemnal Academy Trust, The (TKAT) 28 14 1 43
ARK Schools 17 19 0 36
Plymouth CAST 33 2 0 35
Ormiston Academies Trust 5 29 0 34
David Ross Education Trust (DRET) 21 10 1 32
Greenwood Academies Trust 21 8 3 32
Diocese of Norwich Education Academies Trust 29 1 0 30
Diocese of Oxford 26 4 0 30
The Elliot Foundation Academies Trust 28 0 0 28
GLF Schools 22 5 0 27
The Diocese of Ely Multi-academy Trust 27 0 0 27
Enquire Learning Trust 25 0 1 26
E-ACT 13 12 0 25
Kent Catholic Schools Partnership (KCSP) 20 5 0 25
Diocese of Peterborough 23 0 0 23
L.E.A.D. Multi-Academy Trust 19 3 0 22
Outwood Grange Academies Trust 5 17 0 22
Academy Transformation Trust (ATT) 9 11 1 21
ASPIRE Academy Trust 21 0 0 21
Wakefield City Academies Trust 14 7 0 21
Active Learning Trust (ALT) 15 3 2 20
Northern Education Trust 10 10 0 20
Astrea Academy Trust 16 2 1 19
Diocese of Bath and Wells Multi Academy Trust 19 0 0 19
Samuel Ward Academy Trust 13 5 1 19
Tauheedul Education Trust 5 14 0 19
The Hamwic Trust 17 1 1 19
The White Horse Federation 13 3 3 19
Truro and Penwith College 17 2 0 19
Derby Diocesan Academy Trust 17 0 0 17
Diocese of Chelmsford 17 0 0 17
Diocese of Exeter 15 2 0 17
Flying High Trust 17 0 0 17
Cabot Learning Federation 7 8 0 15
Focus Academy Trust (UK) Ltd 15 0 0 15
Leigh Academies Trust 8 6 1 15
Swale Academies Trust 9 6 0 15
University of Brighton (Hastings Academies Trust) 12 3 0 15
Wellspring Academy Trust 6 1 8 15
Southerly Point Co-Operative Multi-Academy Trust 13 2 0 15
Diocese of Canterbury (Aquila) 13 1 0 14
Diocese of Leicester Academies Trust (DLAT) 14 0 0 14
Inspiration Trust 5 9 0 14
St Edmundsbury and Ipswich Diocesan Multi Academy Trust 14 0 0 14
STEP Academy Trust 14 0 0 14
Community Academies Trust (CAT) 8 5 0 13
Creative Education Trust 6 7 0 13
Diocese of Salisbury 12 1 0 13
Discovery Schools Academies Trust Ltd 13 0 0 13
Eastern Multi-Academy Trust 10 3 0 13
Education Central Multi Academy Trust 10 3 0 13
Hull Collaborative Academy Trust 12 1 0 13
St Chad’s Academies Trust 12 1 0 13
The Thinking Schools Academy Trust 9 4 0 13
Transform Trust 13 0 0 13
Askel Veur – Diocese of Truro 12 0 0 12
Bishop Konstant Catholic Academy Trust 10 2 0 12
Bright Tribe Trust 5 7 0 12
CfBT Education Trust 8 4 0 12
Diocese of Birmingham Education Trust 12 0 0 12
Diocese of Coventry 11 1 0 12
Diocese of Gloucester Academies Trust 12 0 0 12
Diocese of Lincoln 10 2 0 12
Diocese of London 8 4 0 12
Diverse Academies Trust 4 7 1 12
The Education Fellowship Trust 8 4 0 12
The Good Shepherd Trust 11 1 0 12
The Griffin Schools Trust 10 2 0 12
Ventrus Limited 11 1 0 12
Aspirations Academies Trust (AAT) 6 5 0 11
Belgrave St Bartholomew’s Academy 11 0 0 11
Bradgate Education Partnership 10 1 0 11
Bridge Multi Academy Trust 11 0 0 11
Diocese of Bristol Academies Trust (DBAT) 11 0 0 11
Diocese of Middlesbrough 10 1 0 11
Ebor Academy Trust 10 1 0 11
Midsomer Norton Schools Partnership 8 3 0 11
Nottingham Roman Catholic Diocesan Education Service (NRCDES) 9 2 0 11
Partnership Learning 5 5 1 11
The Co-operative Group 5 6 0 11
The GORSE Academies Trust 4 6 1 11
West Norfolk Academies Trust 7 4 0 11
River Learning Trust 7 4 0 11
The Diocese of Westminster Academy Trust 5 6 0 11
Bourne Education Trust 5 5 0 10
Bradford Diocesan Academies Trust 6 4 0 10
Education South West 6 4 0 10
LEARNERs’ Trust 10 0 0 10
The Bishop Wheeler Catholic Academy Trust 9 1 0 10
The First Federation Trust 10 0 0 10
The Spencer Academies Trust 7 3 0 10
Trenance Learning Academy Trust (TLAT) 10 0 0 10
Waterton Academy Trust 10 0 0 10
Wickersley Partnership Trust 7 3 0 10
University of Chichester (Multi) Academy Trust 9 1 0 10

This is a grand total of 1,742 schools or around 24% (2016 – 21%) of the total. So there has been some consolidation but not a great deal. Of the 101 chains in the list all but 23 include more than one phase of education. And they all include at least one primary.

NB the ‘Other’ column includes Special Schools, all-thrus and middle schools.

Also, I have emboldened the obviously faith-based trusts.

Number of different sized chains

If we group the chains by size we get the following:

Group Size 2017 2016
1 – Converters 1971 2239
1- MAT 364 210
2 368 181
3 186 110
4 150 61
5 – 9 261 111
10 – 14 55 26
15-19 18 8
20-24 8 7
25-29 6 5
30-34 5 1
35-39 2 1
40-44 2 3
45-49 3 1
50-54 0 1
55-59 1 0
60-64 1 0
65-69 0 1

 

The number of chains with more than 20 schools is still very small in comparison to the total number of chains, 28 out of 1,430 (20 out of 727). This represents a near doubling of the number of chains.

There are now 1,027 sponsors listed on the latest sponsor list (which was last updated in April). Given there are 1,430 chains in the above table this seems to suggest that there are far fewer single MATs than there were when I did this exercise last year.

The number of schools in a MAT with at least 4 other schools has increased from 36% to 45%.

The other figure of note is that we are now teetering around the 50% mark for numbers of students in an academy. This is significant.

Viability

A while back Sir David Carter set out a view, which suggested that in a fully academised system there would need to be around 1,800 MATs. If this were the case then the average size would be around 4,500 students. This also fits with the models he has previously proposed looking at different types of trust (Starter, Established, Regional and System).

So it is not unrealistic to use the figure of 4,500 students to try to establish a guide to the viability of the trusts already in existence. Making some assumptions about average school size (Secondary – 1,000, Primary – 325, Other – 50) we can calculate that only 123 of the existing MATs are currently viable. 240 out of 362 MATS with 5 or more schools in do not meet this viability threshold. There seems to be a structural issue here with a high percentage (36%) of the 5-10 sized MATs being primary only. This should concern the DfE. Whilst they can improve viability by increasing number of schools we know that the greater the number of schools the greater the institutional management issues. There is a sweet spot, and O suspect that too many primary only super-sized MATs isn’t it.

Obviously there is a way to with some MATs continuing to grow but this is not a great position at a time of considerable financial pressures within the system. I would suggest that a system where only 10% of the organisations in it can be considered viable remains unstable and in need of a great deal of TLC. Frankly, leaving this to the “market” is negligent. If this system is to continue without major overhaul then a more proactive role for RSCs has to be considered when it comes to creating viable MATs.

Regionalism

There are now 110 trusts that have academies in more than one region, including 17 trusts with a presence in 4 or more regions. If there has been any attempt to reduce this undoubted issue for the system then it is not apparent it is working.

The spread of trusts across the regions is as follows:

RSC Region Trusts 5 or more Schs %age 2016 %age
East Midlands and Humber 193 71 37% 8%
East of England and North East London 229 50 22% 3%
Lancashire and West Yorkshire 192 37 19% 4%
North 102 24 24% 6%
North West London and South Central 278 33 12% 6%
South East and South London 237 48 20% 10%
South West 182 67 37% 8%
West Midlands 218 54 25% 4%

 

NB the number of trusts is inflated in this table as it includes trusts which straddle regions more than once.

The table does show a distinct increase in the number of trusts with 5 or more members which might indicate the start of some form of consolidation. This is noticeably greater in some regions.

One final thing. And this is a message to the DfE. Don’t make me do this again. You have the data, it’s your responsibility to present it in a meaningful way. Three separate spreadsheets without linking fields is a travesty of transparency. Get you act together, speak to your data people and give them an afternoon to get this stuff online and on a live dashboard.

Go on, off you toddle.

 

UPDATE: This post was updated following  review and data cleansing of the DfE spreadsheets. The main impact has been to reallocate a number of academies from the single converter list to the member of a MAT list.

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5 thoughts on “Re-joining the dots

  1. The DfE sponsor list isn’t entirely accurate. Abbey Academies Trust is based in Lancashire and West Yorkshire according to the DfE. But Abbey Academies Trust is actually in Bourne, Lincolnshire. It appears in the DfE list as Bourne Abbey CofE Primary Academy. Bourne Abbey changed its name to Abbey Academies Trust in July 2014. The Lancs/West Yorks trust is actually Abbey Multi Academy Trust.
    Neither Durand Academy Trust nor Cuckoo Hall Academy Trust (aka CHAT) appear in the DfE list. Given the high-profile (notorious?) status of these two, their omission is surprising.

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