MATs: benefits, challenges and functionsDate: 22.07.2019
An Ofsted investigation into multi-academy trusts: how their central vision and approaches influence day-to-day practice in schools, and to what extent they are having a positive or otherwise impact on the work of leaders and teachers in the schools they inspect. It shows a lack of consistenncy in approaches.
There are some core functions that almost all MATs appear to carry out. This includes what might be termed ‘back office support’ such as finance, premises and building support, training for safeguarding and health and safety.
All have a role in quality assuring the work of their schools. However, the extent to which they are directly involved in quality assuring the work or contributing to the further development of their schools varies widely. The
amount of contact individual schools within MATs have with each otther also varies considerably.
At one extreme, there are MATs that appear to carry out ‘health checks’ but play little formal role in assuring the quality of the curriculum, teaching and learning, or behaviour. There are few formalised MAT-wide systems in place. Links between schools are informal and may be based on pre-existing relationships.
In contrast, some MATs play a central role in directing almost all aspects of school life. They have MAT-wide priorities for development that all the MAT’s schools are expected to embrace. MAT-wide policies are in place for curriculum development, teaching and learning, and behaviour. MAT-wide continuous professional development (CPD) reinforces the MAT’s preferred approach and middle and senior leader networks form a significant layer of MAT support.
The function most commonly shared with MATs is ahving the same behaviour policy, though this perhaps isn't as successful a strategy as might be hoped, given that Teachers feel unsupported on classroom behaviour, as Ofsted noted.