At the end of January 2018, the DfE published data about MAT performance.
Only those MAT’s with at least 3 state-funded, mainstream schools in the same phase, where the schools had been part of the MAT for 3 full academic years were included in the published data. This meant 153 MATs were included in the KS2 data, representing 887 individual schools and 35,198 Y6 pupils (6% of the national Y6 cohort).
The published data included 3 progress measures across KS2, one for each of reading, writing and maths. The MAT progress scores were weighted Value Added measures. The calculation of the scores is done at pupil level (giving more weight to large schools with more pupils) and also took account the length of time the academy had been working the trust and therefore benefiting (or not) from the MAT’s school improvement activities. Schools that were in the MAT 3 full years are weighted 3 whilst those in the MAT for 4 or more are given a weighting of 4. The measures consider all pupils and the disadvantaged group.
For each subject, the performance of the MAT falls into 1 of 3 categories: significantly above average (sig+); close to average; significantly below average (sig-). The ‘close to average’ category is then sub-divided into a further 3; above average (over zero); average (zero); below average (below zero). The average being the national average for all state-funded mainstream schools.
On an all pupils basis, progress in maths was strongest because 30% (46) of MAT’s were sig+ as opposed to 24% (36) in writing and 22% (33) in reading. About a third of MATs were significantly below in each subject (33% reading and 30% for writing and maths). Taking into account those MATS that were sig+ together with those that were ‘close to average’ but above zero, 39% were above average in reading; 57% were above average in writing and 49% were above average in maths. Individual MAT results are set out in the graph’s that make up the DfE’ document.
The performance of disadvantaged pupils at MAT level was mixed. Whilst fewer were sig+ in each of the subjects than was the case with the all pupil data, the percentages that were ‘close to average’ and sig+ combined were considerably higher in reading (+17%) and writing (+16%). They were also higher in maths (+8%). The wider gap in English perhaps reflects the understandable decisions of schools to prioritise the use of pupil premium to secure accelerated progress in reading before targeting other areas.
Pages 22 & 23 of the report provide useful information on the relative performance of those MATs with higher proportions and lower proportions of disadvantaged pupils. A real area of focus for MATs with higher proportions needs to be reading, because 32 of the 76 were significantly below average. Rates of progress in writing and maths were more similar.
The document also reports on the relative performance of MATs with higher and lower proportions of EAL and SEN pupils and also those with higher and lower prior attainment scores. MATs with higher proportions of EAL pupils tended to do less well in reading than in those MATs with lower proportions of EAL pupils but tended to do better in writing and maths. With regards to SEN, MATs with higher proportions did less well than those with lower proportions in each subject.
When looking at prior attainment, those MATs with higher KS1 results recorded better progress scores than those with lower KS1 results. However, the reverse was true in maths and, in particular, writing.
The document correctly points out that given the changing dynamics in MATs some caution needs to be applied when reading the data. For example, a relatively small MAT that sponsors a failing school is likely to see a negative impact on scores. Nevertheless, the document does give some useful information and there may be benefit in using it to help inform some higher level targets.
The full document on MAT performance can be found here.