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Thinking about your multi-academy trust growth strategy? Read the full version of this article in our free ebook, ‘Creating a Cohesive Trust, Part 3’. In March 2022, the government released the schools white paper, which revealed plans for all schools to be part of “strong” multi-academy trusts (MATs) by 2030. Recent political change means the
Thinking about your multi-academy trust growth strategy? Read the full version of this article in our free ebook, ‘Creating a Cohesive Trust, Part 3’.
In March 2022, the government released the schools white paper, which revealed plans for all schools to be part of “strong” multi-academy trusts (MATs) by 2030. Recent political change means the bill has now taken a back seat, but with many MATs already intending to grow, the scene has been set for a critical few years in the academisation journey.
With many trusts now set on growth, we wanted to explore if the expectations of MAT leaders aligned with the sentiment of LA maintained schools.
In September 2022, we surveyed 108 trust leaders and 244 members of SLT in LA maintained schools from around the country.
We found that less than half of all LA Maintained schools expected to be part of a MAT by 2030. Many cited political uncertainty, though the majority of respondents said their negative feelings towards academisation were focused on loss of autonomy, community and identity. Schools also quoted their lack of need for support, especially when they were already ”‘economically viable and have good results.” Those that do expect to join a MAT were still largely negative about the prospect, with many simply saying “we have no choice.”
Despite this response from schools, not one respondent in our survey of MAT leaders thought that their trust would add zero schools in the next three years. Most respondents expected to grow by either 4-6 schools (33%), 7-10 schools (22%) or 1-3 schools (22%). 2% of respondents expected to grow by over 31 schools. This was matched by the general consensus that “schools joining is always positive”, with many participants referring to how growth would allow their trust to “make a difference to as many lives as possible.”
The discrepancy between the way schools and trust leaders view academisation is clear. With the majority (59%) of respondents in our survey of MAT leaders saying that their preferred method of growth was through acquiring new schools, there is work to be done on changing the perception of what joining a MAT can truly mean. This is especially pertinent for MATs who want to make sure they grow as a cohesive trust with a strong culture, rather than taking on schools simply to remain financially viable.
Political uncertainty aside, how can MAT leaders win over schools who are reluctant to academise? And, as trusts grow, how can they make sure that they do so sustainably and as one organisation, not many?
We’ve put together an ebook for MAT leaders, where we hope you will find some answers to these questions. It features the thoughts of six MAT leaders and experts on growth:
We’ve also put together some of the comments and perspectives from the respondents of both of our surveys.
Download your free copy here!
We’d love to see where you stand in this discussion – join the debate on social media using the hashtag #CohesiveMATs.
Discover more of our content for multi-academy trusts here.
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