What are the biggest growing pains facing MATs? Finances, resilience, Ofsted and accountability, said our panel.
Last Friday, ASCL hosted its Annual Conference in Birmingham, and Sir David Carter outlined in his speech the biggest challenge he currently faced was from preventing a system of isolated academy trusts over the next 10 years. His message highlighted the importance of collaboration and the need, in a competitive educational landscape, for academies to work together in order to offer the best possible outcomes for children and to help make their school as attractive as possible.
Our panel debate at the conference focused on the growing pains faced by all MATs, whatever their size, as they take on more schools. Recruiting and retaining the best staff, speaking a common language of assessment and building a strong capacity for growth were all key themes. What are the biggest growing pains? Finances, resilience, Ofsted and accountability, said the panel. They were also asked to name their ‘non-negotiables’ – commonality of moral purpose, common systems and innovation were their top three, with an important addition – patience.
Building on the growing pains theme, we have this week published a best practice guide on considerations and best practice for successful MATs, with contributions from Daisy Christodoulou from ARK Schools, Maxine Evans from NET Academies Trust, Paul Smith from Future Academies and ATT’s Lisa Crausby to name just a few. Here, they talk about a range of themes relating to growth and how a good assessment framework can help them some of the challenges they face – measuring pupils’ progress, baselining and transition, and using data to set priorities and raise standards.