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Letter: Not all schools want to join Catholic Multi-Academy Trusts

Photo by Kenny Eliason on Unsplash

Photo by Kenny Eliason on Unsplash

Dear Editor

Re: ICN 15 April 2023 Conference for Catholic Multi Academy Trusts

I should say first of all that I do value greatly the daily email from the Independent Catholic News and I have never previously found any of the articles problematic.

However, today's item, which was effectively promoting the conference for Catholic Multi-Academy Trusts, included a statement that is highly likely to be false and in any event is unbalanced.

The article states that many Catholic schools are looking to join a MAT. I think there is some evidence that this is not true and certainly very strong evidence that many schools are being forced to join a MAT when their governing body strongly believes that this is not in the best interests of pupils.

It is also true that some diocesan bishops are forcing academisation on such schools using tactics that are, at best, questionable. All this at a time when there is now very strong evidence that local authority maintained schools, including voluntary aided schools, are outperforming schools in multi-academy trusts.

I think there is a danger in publishing articles that are really just promotional material supplied by the conference organisers, because inevitably they will lack balance and in lacking balance they give a completely false impression. This article suggests that all is well in Catholic education and that Catholic schools are willingly queuing up to join a MAT. This really is not true at all. The way in which schools are being forced to join MATs that they simply do not want to join is a great concern. I can see that this may not make very attractive news by itself, because it reflects an aspect of life in our church today that is worrying.

I do think though that there does need to be some balance. It might have been better to say that 'although some voluntary aided schools have indicated that they do not wish to academise, a significant number of Catholic schools have now joined a Catholic MAT'.

Thank you for providing the Independent Catholic News - this has filled the the gap left when the Catholic Times closed.
Best wishes

David Hubbard
Retired Headteacher of a wonderful voluntary aided Catholic high school

Edmund01489544 (@Edmund) posted: Do we need MATS when there is the CES, as well as local diocesan bodies? Where are the debates over this? Surely the widespread disquiet around the wastefulness of barely accountable academies and free schools hasn't gone unnoticed by the church? Just what has gone on here?


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