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Department for Education's latest guidance on commissioning high-quality trusts

11th July 2023

The Department for Education (DfE) recently released its latest guidance on commissioning high-quality trusts.

It is good to see that there is now a more robust framework for the commissioning, which is far more commercial and will enable the sector to hold the Regional Directors and the Regions Group accountable.

Strong trusts that have the capacity for growth are key to the proposals, especially those trusts that are prepared to accept the risks and challenges of supporting schools facing the most difficult circumstances.

The guide also recognises the significance of developing geographic clusters, which many in the sector have already recognised as critical to enabling schools to work together to support the school improvement journey.

Applications from groups of Good or Outstanding maintained schools to establish a new trust will be considered, particularly proposals which respond to gaps in high quality education provision in a particular area.

Strong trusts

This has been the topic of discussion for some time and was previously set out in the guidance ‘Building Strong Academy Trusts, together with the ‘Regional Director decision-making framework’.

The new guidance replaces these 2 documents. It defines strong trusts under 5 pillars:

1. High-Quality and Inclusive Education 
2. School Improvement 
3. Workforce 
4. Finance and Operations 
5. Governance and Leadership

More detail on these pillars is set out in annex A in the guidance.

The guidance states that quality of education will always be the primary concern and that decisions are informed by data rather than determined by data.

Each commissioning decision is based on professional judgment.

For more information please contact your usual Bishop Fleming advisor.

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