Joining Our MAT

Information for schools interested in joining us in partnership.


Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.

Margaret Mead

We believe that Sharples School and our Primary Partners have this excellent relationship


The typical MAT of the future is likely to be made up of a group of local schools that have worked together for years, share the same values, and work comfortably with leaders who are well known to that community and have been appointed because they have an outstanding track record.

Sir David Carter

National Schools’ Commissioner


Vision and ethos

In a MAT with our partners, we would aspire to

  • work together equally and equitably within an aligned vision, with shared principles in open, transparent, mutually beneficial working relationships to shape the successful futures of all our schools and improve outcomes for all our pupils.
  • provide a local cross-phase solution for our community, sharing good practice, growing our own teachers, leaders, strategies and pathways to success


Build on trust

Trust is built and maintained by many small actions over time.


Academisation for all schools issue; has it really gone away?

  • The Government has decided that it is not necessary to bring legislation to bring about blanket conversion of all schools to achieve this goal
  • BUT Nicky Morgan has reaffirmed her commitment to every school becoming an academy by 2022; Justine Greening will continue to pursue all-out academisation
  • She will bring forward legislation to create new powers to convert all schools in underperforming or unviable local authorities



a bill will be brought forward to lay foundations for educational excellence in all schools, giving every child the best start in life.

The Queen

The Queen’s Speech, 18th May 2016

The best way to predict the future is to create it.

Abraham Lincoln


The wrong question:

“Should my school become an academy or form a MAT?”

The right question:

“How can my school best collaborate with others in a strong and resilient structure to ensure that each child is powerful learner and that adults have the opportunities to learn and develop as teachers and learners?”


The Era of the Stand Alone School is coming to a close . . .


Collaboration is going to be the key to system wide school improvement.

Sir David Carter

National Schools’ Commissioner


It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor is it the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.


Why should schools join together in MATS?


  • Collective responsibility for more children than can be taught in a school
  • Use the talent pool to intervene in under performance more quickly
  • Trust wide sharing of CPD, curriculum development & assessment resources
  • School to school support opportunities
  • Subject based conferences and networks
  • Bespoke CPD across the MAT on common themes
  • Moderation and assessment between staff cross phase
  • Enrichment offer for children can be broader
  • Clear evidence that MATS are finding it easier to recruit staff
  • Retaining talent in the trust even if not in the original school
  • Strong non educational support unleashes capacity of teacher and leaders
  • Workload reduction as less “reinventing” of the wheel
The benefits of joining in a MAT with Sharples
  • Capacity to sustain success across member schools – Good with outstanding features
  • Credible expertise, cross phase and subject specific SLE’s
  • Opportunities for recruitment/ secondments/ succession planning – growing our own
  • Collaboration – teaching and learning, leadership, governance
  • Excellent progress scores – in top 4 in Bolton
  • Well established transition
Financial Benefits
  • Current LA top slice 10%
  • Typical MAT top slice (3% – 5%)
  • Economies of scale
    • Service Level Agreements
      • Physical resources e.g. photocopying contracts, IT systems
      • Support resource e.g. Behaviour resources, Education Psychologist
Does membership of a MAT reduce autonomy

Yes, it probably does!

  • Ensures entitlement to the best education possible

– Systems and operating procedures

– Sharing best practice on assessment

– Key Educational Policies

– HR practice as one employer

But not in every respect . . .

It is up to the Trust to place its school on the control/autonomy continuum in order to achieve the best outcomes for children and young people

– Culture of school

– Uniform

– Enrichment

– Relationship with the local community

– Education networks unique to the school

The preferred MAT model
Approach to delegation

Board of Trustees

Representatives from primary and secondary schools in the Trust with strategic oversight, setting visions and policies for the Trust, governance, contractual relationships with third parties.


Individual primary and secondary schools. Day to day running of the academy, carrying out the vision, policies and priorities, holding academy leadership to account.

Joining the MAT – key questions for all schools

Joining the MAT – key questions for all schools

  • What are the benefits for our school over time?
  • Financial model – top slice – how much will we save/ increased resources
  • What added value to our pupils and our staff will be seen?
  • Due Diligence? – both ways – Building, resources, finances etc.


A multi-academy trust is in the end just a legal vehicle.

Fill it with your own beliefs, values, principles and moral purpose. This is an opportunity to create the education system at local level that you believe will be best for the children and communities you serve.


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