According to a new survey, one in four academy trusts in the North East of England is considering a merger with another faith. The survey of 33 academy trust CEOs representing more than 200 schools in the area found that 24.2 per cent were planning a trust merger and 48.5 per cent an expansion.
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The research, conducted by Schools North East (SNE), found that 15.2 per cent of trusts were undecided about their next steps, and 12.1 per cent said they would not merge or expand.
The findings give insight into how trust leaders have responded to the government’s stated aim of encouraging trusts to grow and merge to improve school standards across the country.
SNE CEO, Jon Ball, said: “Our survey shows that there is a lot of appetite among trusts in the North East to grow and merge, in line with the government’s wishes.
“However, there are also many challenges to overcome if these plans are to be realised, not least the need to find willing partners and to secure the support of stakeholders such as parents and staff.”
The government has recently announced a series of measures designed to make it easier for trusts to expand and merge, including loosening the rules around asset transfers and increasing support from regional schools commissioners.
However, critics have argued that forcing trusts to grow could lead to them becoming too large and unwieldy and that this could ultimately harm school standards.
According to the latest figures, there are currently around 1,200 academy trusts in England, with an average of 8 schools per trust.
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