A new phase of an exciting journey!
When we converted our first school in late 2010, little did we think over 11 years later we would have helped nearly 300 schools in their journey to academy status. Nor did we think we would be helping over 50 MAT’s in areas such as MAT Growth Audits, MAT MOT’s, Due Diligence, Mergers and Transfers or Governance Reviews. It’s been a journey and a privilege helping schools realise their goals.
From the first thoughts of becoming an academy to helping build the structure of the Trust, from helping write the application to convert to laying the foundations of Trust Growth, from taking away the pain of the conversion process to becoming a long standing partner of the Trust, we are a constant schools and Trusts can rely on. We’ve grown as our partner Trusts have grown.
In reality however, since 2010, the growth of academies has been pretty much organic. There were spurts, fits and starts, some areas more interested than others. The recent White Paper has at least now given focus – and new momentum – as it provides some clarity on the direction of travel. All schools in MAT’s in the next 8 years to put it very, very simply.
So, just as all Maintained schools now need to start seriously considering the future, all Trusts must now consider how they will aim to be on the trajectory of 10 schools or 7500 pupils as detailed in the White Paper. That will involve a long hard look at all aspects of yourself ( Standards, Finance, Governance, Risk Management, Processes and Systems, Strategic Planning and others ) which is basically your Growth Audit. Internal as well as external assessment will really help you understand who you are and if you are able to upscale and up-skill and successfully take more schools on.
Conducting robust Due Diligence on schools and Trusts joining you will mitigate any risks involved and help you onboard schools better which, in turn, helps build something bigger than the sum of the parts. Don’t forget though that those schools and Trusts will be conducting robust Due Diligence on you too so how will you come out of that you must ask yourself. Looking at yourself – and having others do that also – will better prepare you for Trust growth.
Making the actual academy conversion as pain-free as possible not only helps the joining school of course but also helps your own Trust focus on not taking your eye off the ball – educating children.
Most people reading this will be thinking about what the White Paper means for your Trust. Understandable. It may help to remember that Trust growth doesn’t start with another school. It starts with taking stock and a long hard look at your Trust, planning things as a joined up activity rather than as individual elements and lastly, seeking verification and triangulation where you can.
Some Trusts will obviously go as they merge into others over the next 8 years, others will stay on the board and grow. Planning which door your Trust goes through must now be on your agenda!