The aim of a multi academy trust is fundamentally to improve the outcomes and prospects of students that attend each member school. As we covered in a previous post, this becomes infinitely more powerful and more possible if the schools and academies within a trust are integrated and connected in a meaningful way.
However, this goes beyond technology or financial systems. For a MAT to truly succeed and serve its purpose – to provide an outstanding education experience across the board – there must be a true culture of nurturing and collaboration.
With that in mind, here are some key points for consideration around the importance of collaboration in multi academy trusts.
It’s an oft-repeated statement in business that a company’s vision should trickle down to everyone in the organisation. The same should be true of MATs.
Trusts have a central executive team much like a business, and in a similar fashion, while they may be responsible for setting the vision and making the key decisions that move the organisation towards it, they have a responsibility to ensure that everyone in the Trust understands and works towards that vision.
Uniquely within an educational organisation, this includes not only the senior leadership team, teaching and support staff, but also the students and the parents. Proper collaboration between all of these individuals is key. Obviously, particular tools and technologies help with this, but it all starts with a shared ownership culture and proper communication around the vision of the Trust.
On the subject of communication – establishing and maintaining transparency and meaningful conversations between the members of the Trust is key to a culture of true collaboration. This isn’t limited only to high level aspects like the Trust’s strategy and vision – there should be as few barriers as possible to communication of information both within the organisation and outside the organisation.
There’s an obvious advantage of being able to quickly communicate on operational matters – but there’s also benefits from having a singular vision of pupil progress and performance across the Trust. This kind of collaboration is particularly important if and when the Trust consists of primary and secondary or all-through academies, where a student might stay within the ecosystem for their entire academic career.
Again, there are certainly powerful technology and integration tools you can put in place to power this – but it’s important that every stakeholder within the organisation understands the importance of transparency and communication.
Studies have shown that schools that invest in the continued professional development (CPD) of leadership, teaching and support staff see better outcomes for students.
Allowing each member academy or school to understand the gaps and training opportunities across the Trust is a powerful part of collaboration. One of the key benefits of joining a Trust is that educators and leadership teams within it can learn from each other. Depending on the make-up of the Trust and the experience and standards within the member schools, it’s likely to be a horses for courses situation. Where one establishment might be lacking, one might be leading the charge.
There might be an opportunity to save on costly training and CPD programmes by encouraging skill sharing and internal training. From an operational perspective, savings could also be made by taking CPD and training programmes from external organisations centrally.
Multi Academy Trust Partnership Network is a unique networking event for senior leaders in MATs. Over a two day event, you’ll get the opportunity to learn from and collaborate with your peers and connect with suppliers to the sector. Register for MATPN, 25th -26th February 2020 at Horwood House Hotel, Milton Keynes.
Are you a supplier to multi academy trusts? Enquire about sponsoring MATPN, 13th-14th October 2020 at Norton Park, Winchester.