This winter has not just seen Britain hammered by The Beast from the East and the more delicately named Storm Emma, but a host of MATs have been hit by an icy blast from the ESFA as well – namely in the form of Financial Notices to Improve. It started with Plymouth CAST in September, […]

“They’re making a list and checking it twice, Gonna find out who’s naughty and nice”   These words have a little more meaning than ever this year as Eileen Milner, Chief Executive of the Education and Skills Funding Agency, decided to forego Christmas cards and instead send a letter to all Chairs, CEOs and CFOs […]

David Carter, the National Schools Commissioner, has hinted at a new, potentially game changing, policy at a Church of England schools training event last week. The basic premise of what has been reported is that, instead of a school joining a MAT hook, line and sinker based on a few meetings and some serious Googling, […]

We all read the headlines about what can go wrong with academy conversions. Issues such as problems with PFIs, disagreements over terms and a realisation that two different sets of ethos might not align keep cropping up over-and-over again. Rarely do we ever see any guidance or best practice about what works well. With the […]

In the last couple of weeks problems within Multi-Academy Trusts have made the headlines yet again. Putting the Party Conferences to one-side, three stories caught my eye: A MAT in the South West has had its spending powers restricted due to the fact that it “identified medium term concerns relating to its financial operating model”. […]

After 21 academy conversions, £500,000 worth of additional funding to take on failing schools and accolades about being a “top performing” trust, things at Wakefield City Academies Trust has not gone as would have been hoped or anticipated. Before we all start discussing structures, policies and funding, let’s not forget that there are countless students, […]

There is many a paradox in the Academy world but perhaps the biggest one is around the Headteacher Board. A group of Headteachers, together with and headed by an RSC, making a decision on a school’s, or group of schools, ability to successfully run an academy? Then, once the group is approved they expect the […]

‘Go before we are pushed’, ‘control the journey and destination’ as well as ‘we are not having a Trust come in and tell us what to do, how to operate’. Sound familiar?! These are the main reasons schools are now converting to academy status. The building blocks to the recent budget announcement were started in […]

I’ve never been a fan of the phrase ‘Critical Friend’. In my opinion, what a nonsensical phrase. When I first became a governor over 23 years ago, a wise man told me a governor is three things – Watchdog, Mediator and Champion. He went on to say that if I wore all three hats with […]