The success of MAT approaches has shown how effective their teaching programmes are and how they’ve allowed them to take into account the varying demands of each subject taught within their schools’ syllabus, allowing flexibility throughout this ensures appropriate teaching, planning and assessment approaches are being adopted.
Some trusts have already recognised the potential these approaches have on their pupils’ overall learning and teacher workloads by developing higher-quality curriculums. Outwood Grange Academies Trust has already adopted these models to collaborate a structure that is used across all of its seventeen secondary and five primary academies.
“Over recent years MATs & SATs have been in the firing line of many educational professionals, but since they were introduced in 2010 there has been more benefits than disadvantages for schools, when it comes to joining a MAT or SAT.
I believe that this is a necessary step in the development of education - not only for the success of the way they’re funded to make themselves more sustainable, but through how they now operate to improve the learning of their students – banding together to use the shared resources among their newly established networks.” – Farah Bano, Not for Profit Consultant, Sewell Wallis.
Collaboration amongst MATs
The aim of the MATs is to create a network group where innovation and collaboration impacts the outcomes of pupils within their trusts, through shared strategies that are ideally focused on their schools’ improvement, procurement, recruitment, retention, governance and much more.
- Stronger Leadership: School Governors and teachers can combine their knowledge and planning abilities to work on challenges and solutions together – Shared knowledge.
- Strategic Management: Governors and trustees can draw on each other’s experience to formulate strategic approaches.
- Shared Staffing: Human resources within schools can work across multiple sites, particularly in a localised Trust. This can appease the recruitment challenges facing the teaching industry and offer more varied opportunities to staff.
- Specialist Resources: With combined funding in a Trust, specialist knowledge can be bought in many different areas, spanning academic, extra-curricular and operational functions.
- Professional Development: This can be organised across multiple schools, spreading the cost per school and upskilling as many individuals as possible per session.
- Economies of Scale: A Trust is able to purchase as a whole, thereby achieving economies of scale not achievable by schools as individuals. With ever tightening budgets, this can help schools maintain and build upon the resources and standards they aspire to.
- Shared Accountability: As a Trust represents multiple schools, it is in its interest to raise the profile of each, in line with rising expectations.
In 2017, Education Policy Institute found turning schools into academies doesn't automatically improve standards.
- Geographical Issues: difficulty to establish an effective network within the collaborative school governance if the schools within the MAT are considerable distance apart.
- Structural Distributions: After joining a MAT board you want to represent your school it could be possible the physical dynamics that attracted you in the first place may change overtime.
- Reputation: If schools struggle to maintain their standards whilst in a MAT, their reputation may suffer. Transferring from being a SAT or School into a MAT is why, it is essential school leaders carefully review their options before deciding on which MAT to join.
There are some significant legal and operational challenges schools will have to face when joining a MAT, which includes moving their funding agreements from their current provider to the MAT they wish to join, as well as implementing a commercial transfer agreement of all assets and contracts. It also remains to be seen if MATs are flexible enough to offer a supported infrastructure that will benefit all schools within their trusts, and for many academies this already exist, making it a testament for those choosing to convert in the future.
Joining a MAT or becoming a SAT is now a natural step within any school’s evolution and has become quite promising for the future sustainability for the UK’s education system.
If you are a MAT or SAT and you require assistance with your recruitment, please contact Farah Bano:
Mobile: 07813 974 503
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