The benefits of MAT membership

MAT membership isn’t right for every school – but what are the benefits?

New research analysing the Ofsted-rated performance of almost 1,700 schools and academies has found that more than half of institutions moving into multi-academy trusts (MATs) saw an improvement in their overall effectiveness.

The analysis marks the release of a new report which reveals a range of benefits for schools and academies operating as part of a multi-academy trust.

The Resource: A guide to expanding Multi-Academy Trusts for HR and Finance professionals’ has shown that being part of a growing MAT could put single academies and maintained schools on a stronger financial footing which supports pupil attainment.

Schools improving their overall effectiveness following MAT integration also see the greatest rise in ‘effectiveness of leadership and management’ with an average improvement of 16%. More than half (55.5%) also saw an increase in ‘outcomes for pupils’. But the shift can be risky, with a poorly-managed takeover resulting in an average drop of 12.9% in ‘overall effectiveness’.

According to the latest government figures there are 6,996 academies in England, making up 72% of secondary schools in the country and 27% of primary schools. These numbers are likely to continue to increase with more schools planning to join trusts in the near future. A previous survey showed that 70% of decision-makers within MATs expect their trusts to grow in the next 12 months.

Discussing the research, Jane Gibson, an education sector expert, said, “MAT membership isn’t right for every institution; we have seen a drop in effectiveness scores for many following integration so it’s a decision that must be weighed up by each individual school or academy.

“Our research leads me to believe that MAT growth will continue in the coming years. Being part of a trust can enable schools and academies to access shared resources, and economies of scale and, given the stretched budgets many schools are facing, this can provide a significant commercial advantage.

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“Department for Education figures show that academies have incurred a deficit of more than £6bn and the pressure for them to continue to make financial savings will intensify further. A central support team, connected by a shared platform, allows MATs to reduce the number of duplicated tasks and time-consuming admin, as well as providing the high-quality data school leaders need to drive decision-making.”

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