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Structural integration and knowledge exchange in Multi-Academy Trusts: comparing approaches with evidence and theory from non-educational sectors

Greany, T; McGinity, R; (2021) Structural integration and knowledge exchange in Multi-Academy Trusts: comparing approaches with evidence and theory from non-educational sectors. School Leadership and Management 10.1080/13632434.2021.1872525. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

This article analyses the ways in which leaders in Multi-Academy Trusts (MATs) in England work to develop shared improvement practices across the schools they operate. It draws on case study evidence gathered as part of a larger mixed methods study (Greany [2018]. Sustainable Improvement in Multi-school Groups. DfE Research report 2017/038. London: Department for Education). There are now more than 1200 MATs in England, operating anywhere between two and 50+ academies within a single organisational structure. A key question facing MAT leaders is whether, where and how far to seek integration between member schools, especially given the argument that such integration can ensure that teaching and learning practices are being consistently applied. The research reveals varying levels of standardisation, alignment and autonomy across different aspects of practice (assessment, curriculum and pedagogy). While some MAT leaders seek to standardise and regulate most areas of practice, others emphasise more organic or co-designed approaches to building shared norms and/or allow space for local contextualisation. Drawing on research into ‘Mergers and Acquisitions’ and Post-Merger Integration’ in organisational studies, we analyse the theories of action which underpin these leaders’ approaches and set out a typology aimed at strengthening understanding of MAT approaches to improvement.

Type: Article
Title: Structural integration and knowledge exchange in Multi-Academy Trusts: comparing approaches with evidence and theory from non-educational sectors
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1080/13632434.2021.1872525
Publisher version: https://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13632434.2021.1872525
Language: English
Additional information: © 2021 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.
Keywords: Multi-academy trusts; school improvement; mergers and acquisition; spost-merger integration; knowledge exchange; leadership
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Learning and Leadership
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10123825
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