When looking for a partner people select gender, age, religion, values amongst other factors. For Schools, the big question for many still remains… should the school join an existing Multi-Academy Trust? Or should you look into forming your own Trust along with other like-minded schools, go it alone as an Academy or remain with the Local Authority until forced to take any action?
For those schools who haven’t yet converted, who are looking to join a Multi-Academy Trust the first step is to work out which option is best for your school and if it’s a Trust you’re seeking, which Trust is for you? It’s a huge step and you need to be confident that the Trust you choose is going to be the right partner for you with the right principles and values.
Once you’ve got a match, making sure due diligence is done by both parties is absolutely essential to ensure the marriage is successful for the long term. Due diligence should highlight any risks and liabilities that could cause issues in the future as well as any differences in values and approach.
Research is a must and knowing what initial questions to ask before beginning this process is really important. For both the school and the Multi Academy Trust, knowing what to look for, what to request and what to provide is key. We’ve highlighted below the key questions to consider which are referred to in the Governance in Multi-Academy Trusts document produced by the NCSL:-
- What do we wish to achieve by this process?
- What will be the benefits for our pupils and the school, and what will be the implications for staff arising from the changes?
- How will these changes influence, impact and improve our levels of achievement and the quality of teaching and learning?
- What will the financial implications be?
- What powers, responsibilities and accountabilities will we have after the changes?
- Which organisations can we talk to, visit (or ask to visit us) in order to discuss their experiences, the support they provided or received, and the resources available to them?
- Do we have confidence in the educational experience and track-record of the sponsor or school, and does it have the core competence to deliver successful school improvement and make a difference?
- What is it that drives the MAT or school? What is the ‘stamp in their stick of rock’ and does it match our values, vision, ethos and philosophy?
- Does our governing body have the necessary culture of challenge and eye for detail needed to take on these changes? If not, what options are available to us?
- Has the MAT explained, in detail, exactly what it will mean for us, and have they explained all the terminology?
If you need help converting to an academy or joining a Multi-Academy Trust please get in touch on 01924 827869.