How to be an Awesome MAT

No doubt some teachers chose the profession because they longed to have a store cupboard to themselves or wanted to see if the dinnerladies made their own custard – but most are there because they love to teach. And that’s what they’re good at. At Blue Apple Education we are acutely aware of where our own expertise lies; we sometimes fight over the best approach to Wordly but we’re not teachers; we are each quite fond of our own children but wouldn’t want a classroom full of them. We’re not teachers and teachers aren’t us – though all equal in awesomeness, no doubt.

We support teachers by supporting schools by supporting multi-academy trusts to get their marketing and communications right. Similarly, other agencies are providing help in risk management, safeguarding, business development, and, possibly, store cupboard design. One of the joys of our own partnership with the Multi Academy Trust Association (MATA) is rubbing shoulders with a host of people and companies who are invested in improving the sector, especially as the academisation agenda swaggers forward. These are not just ‘suppliers’ but industry experts who serve education and the educators.

The big advantage of MATs is the centralisation of services, an administration holding responsibility for development, implementation and measurement of so many things that are good for schools, good for kids, but are not teaching. Our involvement in MATA gives us the opportunity to draw out of the various experts, the learning points and priorities for MATs. As well as sometimes working together to improve our offer to the sector, we are creating a series of seminars that explore key topics, presented by field specialists.

J&G Marshall is one example of an agency formed specifically to support academies. Working with schools converting to academies, they help that process of navigation. Particularly impressive is the fact that all members of their team sit on governing bodies, enabling them to better “help senior leaders to continue to focus on education outcomes, while we handle the tasks, paperwork and hurdles that can come with conversion.” At Blue Apple Education that’s the kind of philosophy we want to soak up, and the J&G Marshall offer will be very early on our list of seminar topics.

We’re excited about the partnerships we’re building in this way because we know that outcomes for schools and trusts will be significantly improved. In some cases we also take away the burden of having to recruit several agencies because we’re happy to come as a package and/or to pass on details of colleagues.
Academisation is coming. Schools need to know where to go, who to approach, and existing MATs need to know how to appeal to them. Getting centralised tasks right and being able to demonstrate that rightness is what will make the difference, a difference our seminars examine in a practical way. We look forward to announcing the first of these seminars over the next few weeks. We’re proud to serve the sector in this style – naturally, we can also do a great jam roly poly and homemade custard.

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