There is little evidence behind the theory that multi-academy trusts (MATs) are better able to retain their teachers, a report from the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) argues.
In fact, MATs have a slightly higher than average rate of teachers leaving the profession, compared with single-academy trusts and maintained schools, even after accounting for the fact that MATs are disproportionately comprised of sponsored academies.
The variation could be down to the fact that staff moving from school-based roles to jobs in a MAT's central team are not captured by the data – and would, therefore, count as leaving the profession.
But, the report says, based on the available information, this is impossible to confirm.
In a speech last year, former education secretary Nicky Morgan suggested that academies would make it easier to develop better teachers and leaders in schools and MATs, as they would provide a “clear path to career progression”.
'Promote the benefits of MATs'
But the NFER report concludes that there appears to be “little evidence to date to suggest that MATs are better able to retain their teachers”.
The researchers have called on MAT leaders to do more to promote the benefits of working in their organisation to teachers – such as raising the profile of the MAT as the structure that teachers belong to, and promoting career paths for teachers to develop and progress within the chain.
The findings come just days after Tes revealed that senior leaders working for MATs have been asked to relocate over 100 miles away because they failed to properly read their employment contracts.
Leora Cruddas, chief executive of the Freedom and Autonomy for Schools – National Association, which counts MAT leaders among its membership, told Tes that she knew some MATs wanted contracts to include the capacity for teachers to move between schools in the trust.