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How do you do quality assurance of the education provision in a Multi-Academy Trust (MAT)?

Quality assurance of education provision in a Multi-Academy Trust (MAT) is an important part of the MAT’s operating structure. Quality assurance is the process of verifying that the education being provided by each of the academies within a MAT meet the standards set by the Trust. The MAT should have both a policy and a process in place to ensure quality assurance of the education it provides.

The policy should provide a clear framework for the standards that the MAT expects its academies to meet. This policy should be regularly reviewed to ensure that the standards remain up to date and relevant. It should include expectations related to curriculum, teaching and learning, assessment, resources, behaviour management and student welfare. Additionally, the policy should clearly define who is responsible for monitoring and reviewing standards, and provide details on how this process of self-review should be carried out. This will ensure that all academies within the MAT are held to the same quality standards, and that any necessary improvements can be identified and implemented in a timely manner.

The process should include regular reviews of the academies in the MAT. The reviews should be carried out by senior leaders from the MAT, or by specialists engaged by the Trust to focus on key areas. The self-reviews should include observations of classroom teaching, book scrutinies, interviews with staff and students, and reviews of the curriculum and assessment structures. These reviews may take the form of a “deep dive” into one particular area. The results of the reviews should be reported back to the MAT, and any issues that arise should be addressed. The outcomes of the reviews should be overseen by the Trust Board or one of its sub-committees, but also shared with the school and those involved.

Deep dive is the term used for a review process designed to identify areas of good practice and strengths, as well as areas for improvement, in a specific area of activity within a school. It involves an in-depth examination of a particular aspect of school life, such as curriculum, teaching and learning (perhaps subject specific), assessment and reporting, behaviour and safety, or leadership and management. The process is used by school leaders, but will involve the participation of staff and students. It includes a range of activities designed to examine the area from a number of angles so evidence can be triangulated. In this way the outcomes should be more robust and which provide development areas for the school or team as well as individuals.

The evidence gathered in the process needs to be stored in a way that allows good practice to be identified within individual academies but also across the schools in a MAT. Similarly development areas need to aggregated to identify training needs for groups of staff as well as individuals. There are a range of online systems like Lessons Learned  that allow the information from assurance processes to be captured and analysed, and importantly to be reviewed at individual, school and MAT level.

In summary, the quality assurance of the education provision within a MAT should include a clear policy setting out expectations and a process for monitoring and responding to any issues.

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