Making a move from a maintained school to a MAT

Headteacher James Roach and business manager Sharon Carlyon, Laurance Haines Primary School

A successful transition from a maintained school to a MAT requires leadership and the cultivation of a healthy culture – across not one, but multiple, academies. In November 2016 Laurance Haines Primary School converted to an academy and set up the Inclusive Multi-Academy Trust. By March 2018 the school had undertaken the process of converting two schools to join the trust. Headteacher James Roach and business manager Sharon Carlyon share their journey – delving into the conversion and setting-up process and the challenges they met along the way.

They explain the reasons behind conversion, the importance of having a clear ethos and vision - plus the need for embedding strong support structures. As the first school in the UK to receive the National Nurturing School award – which recognises the development and embedding of a nurturing culture throughout the school – Sharon and James will lead you to conversion success.

Take home points:
  • reasons to consider conversion;
  • the conversion and setting-up process;
  • developing a clear and shared ethos and vision;
  • what you need in a school; and what school’s need in you;
  • what’s on your skills T-shirt?
  • Leadership skills and resilience.
This session is for:
SBMs who are making the move from maintained school to MAT, or thinking about doing so.

Sharon Carlyon was a school business manager for Laurance Haines School, Watford, for over 10 years. Prior to this, her background was in the private sector where she was a finance manager for NatWest Bank. In 2016, the school converted to an academy and set up the multi-academy trust. Laurance Haines was the first school in the UK to achieve a National Nurture award in recognition of the outstanding and inspirational work the whole team does in embedding nurturing principles throughout the school. This ethos is embedded across the trust which now has three large primary schools. Each school is richly diverse and children with different languages, cultures and religions learn together in harmony. The schools maintain their own clear identity; however, working collaboratively within a trust means there is a huge amount of opportunity and support for pupils and staff. Sharon’s role has developed into that of chief operations officer.