Our expectations of effective governance in multi-academy trusts are set out in the governance handbook, and they include the skills, knowledge and behaviour that boards need to demonstrate to be effective. We are supporting trustee effectiveness by allocating a higher level of funding to train multi-academy trust boards and by having regular governance conversations with multi-academy trusts.
In Cambridgeshire, as elsewhere, the world of multi-academy trusts is opaque and wholly unaccountable with schools looking over their shoulder to see whether they are the next to be picked off. These trusts receive large sums of public money, but are effectively self-perpetuating oligarchies. When will the Secretary of State do the right thing and pass back control to the people who pay for them—the local citizens?
These multi-academy trusts are driving up academic standards. In primary schools, disadvantaged pupils in MATs make significantly more progress in writing and maths than the average for disadvantaged students, and the gap in progress between disadvantaged and non-disadvantaged primary school pupils is smaller in MATs than the national average. I could go on with more examples of how MATs are raising standards in our country. I refer the hon. Gentleman to the MAT performance table and he will see which MATs are the highest performers.
I hope the House now keenly anticipates Mr George Freeman.