What is a MAT?
What is a MAT?
MAT is an abbreviation of Multi-Academy Trust. A MAT is a charitable organisation which operates one or more academies or free schools.
MATs operate independently of Local Authority (LA) control.
What is the difference between a school and an academy?
The DfE explanation of an academy is:
“Academies receive funding directly from the government and are run by an academy trust. They have more control over how they do things than community schools.”
Do academies get inspected by Ofsted?
“Academies are inspected by Ofsted. They have to follow the same rules on admissions, special educational needs and exclusions as other state schools and students sit the same exams.”
Do academies have to follow the national curriculum?
Academies have more control over how they do things, for example, they can set their own term times and do not have to follow the national curriculum. That said, The Rivers CofE Academy Trust does follow the national curriculum and has established a centrally planned curriculum which is followed across our family of schools.
Find out more about our exciting and purposeful curriculum with United Nations Sustainable Development Goals embedded throughout.
Why do schools join multi-academy trusts?
Schools have the choice to join an academy trust unless they are judged as ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted, then it must become a sponsored academy and are taken over and run by an academy trust.
To ‘level up school standards,’ the Government wants all schools to be ‘part of a family of schools in a strong trust’ and has set out plans for schools to be supported in converting to academies by 2030.
Benefits of being part of an academy trust
Every school will be part of a trust-led system in order to raise standards in education.
The government’s “Case for a fully trust-led system” document says that strong MATs can transform previously underperforming schools, with more than 7 out of 10 sponsored academies now rated 'Good' or 'Outstanding.'
Schools joining academy trusts benefit from collaborative teaching and learning, access to central services such as HR, Finance, IT and Marketing, access to professional learning opportunities and capital investments in their school environments.
Pupils benefit from access to greater opportunities, improved digital technology and access to quality-assured teaching and learning.
Who is in charge of an academy trust?
MATs have a CEO and senior management team who oversee the top level of operations of all schools within the trust.
The headteacher is responsible for the day-to-day running of the school. The trust central team works alongside the head to support each school, rather than taking over, we acknowledge that the headteacher knows their own school best and what is needed.
In every MAT, there are three layers of governance. Advocates (school governors) at school level and Trustees and Members at a senior level. These three groups are responsible for overseeing the schools and trust to make sure they are compliant and are achieving the vision. They hold the head and the CEO to account for educational and pupil performance.
Do schools get to decide what they spend money on?
Schools are responsible for their education budget and manage their day-to-day spend on resources. Schools maintain their school-specific funding (such as pupil premium) and income generated from clubs, pre-school, wraparound care and lettings.
General school funding is pooled and allocated based on requirement and need. If a school wants additional funding for extra teachers or capital projects such as new playground equipment, then a school will put forward a case for funding to the central trust team.
With ever-increasing costs and lack of funding, being part of a MAT guarantees schools benefit from economies of scale, good practice and shared resources. This ensures a rich educational offer is accessible to all children, no matter what the size, location or demographic of the school.
Do schools get to recruit their own teachers and support staff?
Schools are responsible for the recruitment and selection of their staff.
Can a school keep its own identity in a MAT?
Within the Rivers CofE Academy Trust, there are nurseries, pre-schools, a free school, Church of England faith schools, first schools and community schools. Each school has a diverse staff team, personal identity (logo, uniform), demographic and challenges. This gives each school a distinctive ethos which makes each school remarkable in its own way.
As a family of schools, we all share the same vision to ‘Love, Learn, Live’. This vision ensures we have one clear purpose and are fully engaged in achieving the best outcomes for all children.