Creating a Cohesive Trust: Making sure all schools benefit from being in a MAT

By Harriet Cheng, Head of Marketing at Arbor Education 

In the government’s Schools White Paper published in March this year, they made the assertion that all schools should belong to ‘strong’ MATs by 2030. Following our recent research into whether trusts should and could create a shared culture, we wanted to take another look at what having a strong and cohesive MAT really means and as part of this, how every school could benefit from being in a trust. 

In February 2022, we conducted a survey of 164 MAT leaders and discovered that nearly one in five respondents did not feel that their trust had a cohesive culture which all their schools felt part of. 

When we asked participants about the factors they felt best contributed to a shared culture, our survey also revealed that MAT leaders were not drawn to surface-level factors, such as having the same uniform or a standardised curriculum.

Instead, respondents were more focused on having shared opportunities for staff and students, and shared vision and values. This seems to direct us towards what having a cohesive trust truly means: sharing, not sameness. 

Indeed, one respondent in our survey commented: “I wonder what the point in being a trust would be if there was no sense of a shared culture. This does not mean each school is the same and that individual schools cannot have unique approaches and sub-cultures themselves. This is a good thing. But there needs to be a shared culture for the schools to actually benefit from being within a trust. Otherwise we are all pulling in different directions.”

Hear from five MAT leaders 
To look further into what it takes to create a cohesive trust, we invited five different MAT leaders to write about what they thought helped build cohesion and resilience in their trusts. 

Our e-book opens with the importance of communication at Learning For Life Education Trust, and the resulting cross-trust oracy programme. You’ll then hear why Wellspring Academy Trust has committed to 125-year plans for all their schools, and how The Learning For Life Partnership shares best practice both within and beyond their own schools. 

The fourth piece features interviews with three key trust leaders from across the country, exploring how sharing courses between their schools has benefited their students. Our e-book closes with a look into moral leadership at Prince Albert Community Trust and how this has helped transform a number of vulnerable schools. 

Find out more
Click here to download your free copy

We’d love to hear your views so please get in touch with Arbor by email or  get involved in the debate on social media using #CohesiveMATs.

If you missed the first part of our Cohesive Trust series, download it for free here.  You can also read Harriet Cheng’s guest blog from March 2022 on the ASCL website here

Harriet Cheng is Head of Marketing at Arbor Education

Posted: 30/06/2022 12:32:26