Governing collaborations: how boards engage with their communities in multi-academy trusts in England

Baxter, Jacqueline Aundree and Cornforth, Chris (2019). Governing collaborations: how boards engage with their communities in multi-academy trusts in England. Public Management Review (Early Access).

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/14719037.2019.1699945

Abstract

Decentralization policy in English education since 2010 has resulted in the creation of large groupings of schools as Multi-Academy Trusts (MATs), governed and led by central leadership teams and trustees. However, research illustrates that many of these organisations are failing to connect with school communities and as a result are growing too distant from those they purport to serve. This paper uses documentary analysis and interviews with 30 MAT Board Members to examine this key area. The paper reveals that although there are some strategies in place to overcome this issue, that failure to implement fundamental processes such as communication strategies are leading to fragmentation and feelings of disconnect, particularly amongst trustees, and this raises questions as to the extent to which MATs are in touch with and serving their school communities.

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