More schools are joining Multi-Academy Trusts, enabling them to have increased budgetary control, more choice and more freedom over their decisions.
There has been a large increase in schools becoming academies. Reports suggest this is due to concerns over the Local Authority’s ability to provide suitable services, to enable schools to have more budgetary control, choice and freedom over their decisions. Additionally, there is the fear of being pushed into Multi-Academy Trust (MAT) conversion, encouraging schools to begin the process of making their own decision as to which Trust to join, or forming their own.
Why join a Multi-Academy Trust?
The draw of becoming part of a thriving MAT is to raise student attainment, share the burden of business operations, centralise decision making and gain strong, professional leadership.
Becoming part of a Trust isn’t heralded to give improvements overnight. Aligning with a new culture and operating system takes time to adapt to and gain results from. However, formally being part of a group of schools can have enormous benefits, both the technical and non-technical.
The Benefits of Being Part of a Multi-Academy Trust
Stronger Leadership: School leaders and teachers can combine their knowledge and planning abilities to work on challenges and solutions together.
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, thus 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.
The Benefits of Connected IT in a Multi-Academy Trust
There are numerous technical benefits to being part of a Trust that go beyond the basic economies of scale associated with the purchasing of goods.
Trusts can adopt an IT solution enabling them to share storage, servers, backup provision, cloud access, maintenance contracts, connectivity, high level security and inter and in school communications. This can bring enterprise-level technology to schools that would otherwise be unable to find the budget.
Through sharing these resources, schools can achieve lower running costs, reduced environmental impact, stronger safeguarding and improved communications, all on a more manageable and secure platform.
By connecting the technology in the schools and locating this centrally, the internal IT team can be developed to gain specialist knowledge in different areas, creating stronger internal IT support.
All of this can be configured into a scalable model for adding new schools to the Trust in the future.
There is of course a lot more to connecting up a Trust, than what you’ve read above. To delve into the process in more detail, please download our Multi-Academy Trust Case Study on the Bourne Education Trust.
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