Key insights for England from PIRLS, TIMSS and PISA

Research theme: international comparisons
National Foundation for Education Research (NFER)
May 2018

England has been participating in international large scale assessments for over twenty years. In this briefing paper NFER take a look at what we can learn overall about the performance of England’s education system from across PIRLS, TIMSS and PISA.

Multi-academy trust league tables 2017: What can we learn from the data? Including a lesson on why we shouldn’t take everything at face value

Research theme: MATs
Education Datalab
January 2018

This analysis looks at the DfE’s Key Stage 4 MAT league tables, focusing on those trusts with more than five secondary schools that count in the tables – 17 trusts in all.

What makes an effective MAT? Quantitative analysis of the characteristics and performance of multi-academy trusts

Research theme: MATs
Ambition School Leadership
November 2017

This report is a quantitative analysis of 402 MATs with four or more schools.

It was designed to identify the trusts that have exhibited sustainable growth and to understand their characteristics. Sustainable growth was defined as maintaining or improving performance while increasing in size.

The research takes a holistic view of each trust, looking at a range of characteristics. It asks the following questions:

  • Which multi-academy trusts are effective?
  • Which characteristics are associated with effectiveness?

A Tale of Eight Regions: Part 2: Challenge and Support Across the Regional Schools Commissioner Areas

Research theme: accountability and oversight
National Foundation for Education Research (NFER)
April 2017

NFER uses performance data to explore the challenges RSCs face in terms of schools requiring action and the availability of multi-academy trusts that are ready to expand to meet this need.

The Economic Benefits of Joining, Establishing or Growing a Multi-Academy Trust

Research theme: MATs
Education Policy Institute (EPI)
January 2017

Joining or establishing a Multi-Academy Trust (MAT) can result in economies of scale and efficiency savings. Overall, MATs spend less per pupil on running expenses and more on teaching staff than local authority (LA) schools.

Key findings:

  • Secondary schools within MATs are spending £49 per pupil less on running expenses than LA schools
  • MATs spend £23 more per pupil on teaching staff at primary level than LA schools
  • Further savings made when geographic “clusters” of MAT schools reach “critical mass”
  • Technology used to overcome geographical barriers, delivering efficiencies and cost savings

Running expenses, which includes everything from back office and administrative costs to cleaning and catering, are a significant part of school expenditure. At secondary level, schools in MATs spend £1,490 per pupil compared to £1,539 in LA schools – that’s a saving of £49 per pupil.

Effective school partnerships and collaboration for school improvement: a review of the evidence

Research theme: school improvement/ MATs
DfE research report
October 2015

The evidence in this review points to a number of positive consequences of inter-school collaboration in relation to impacts upon students, teachers, school improvement and organisational efficiency.

Research theme: MAT.
FFT Education Datalab
June 2018

This page is a resource for academy and multi-academy trusts, pulling together recent and relevant research and analysis from learned bodies and organisations in one place. CST does not necessarily support or endorse the findings in these studies.

Research theme: MATs
Education Policy Institute (EPI)
June 2018

To accurately assess school quality in these school groups, the research measures how each group fares with pupil improvement taking into account characteristics such as pupil prior attainment and levels of disadvantage, as well as the historic performance of a school.

Note: CST’s view is that the comparison of multi-academy trusts with local authorities is problematic. In multi-academy trusts the schools in the group form a single legal entity. Local authorities are both political and organisational entities with a very wide range of responsibilities in addition to maintaining schools. The schools in a local authority group have a quasi-legal relationship with the local authority but are not part of a single legal entity.

Ambition engaged with over 40 MAT CEOs, through case studies and interviews, and surveyed the staff from twenty-two trusts. The report explores the strategic choices taken by leaders, how this affects the way their trusts operate and how changes in the scale, geography and school performance of a MAT can create break points that mean a trust has to change its approach.

Research theme: MATs
Ambition School Leadership
April 2018

The review appraises literature published from 2010 onwards to examine how funding levels have changed overtime, how what funds are actually spent on has changed, and how educational outcomes appear to vary with expenditure.

Research theme: funding
National Foundation for Education Research (NFER)
February 2018