Social mobility, school improvement and sustainability: the future for MATs

    Published: 15 March 2018

    The Herts for Learning (HfL) Business Management Services team hosted its first ever Forum event on ‘The future for MATs’ (multi-academy-trusts) on Monday 12th March 2018, at the Hertfordshire Development Centre in Stevenage.

    Attended by over 100 representatives from Hertfordshire schools and academies, the Forum was chaired by HfL’s Managing Director, Andrew de Csilléry, and newly appointed Director of Education Services at HfL, Rachel Macfarlane. The event was attended by headteachers, governors and School Business Managers.

    Former Hertfordshire Headteacher and now Regional Schools Commissioner for North-West London and South-Central England, Martin Post, delivered the keynote speech which focused on the MAT story so far and the future landscape.

    He reflected on the tangible benefits of academies working together and being part of a MAT, and how a shared vision is crucial for the continued growth of MATs. He also described the current educational ‘mixed economy’ where academies and maintained schools coexist.

    Martin went on to explain that whilst social mobility remains at the heart of the Government’s educational agenda, regional schools commissioners, who are responsible for making decisions about academies and free schools, continue to focus on social mobility, school improvement and sustainability.

    He also stated that, given the focus on sustainability, only in “absolutely exceptional cases” would regional schools commissioners consider setting up new SATs (single academy trusts). However, he did make it clear that existing SATs are not under any pressure to become MATs if they are performing well and are proving to be sustainable.

    Looking towards the future, Martin said he would like to see MATs becoming more of a collective and working more collaboratively together.

    He finished by saying “Be the best MAT you can, not necessarily the biggest.”

    Following a networking session, delegates had the choice of attending one of three MAT related workshops:

    • The transition from Headteacher to MAT Leader – with Claire Robins, Headteacher at Sir John Lawes School
    • Strategic leadership structures – with Andrea Squires, Head of Education at Winkworth Sherwood
    • MAT growth strategy – with Steve Taylor, Executive Headteacher at Robin Hood MAT

    HfL’s Director of Business Services, Carole Bennett, said after the event:

    We are delighted with the engagement and hugely positive feedback from attendees at this first Forum event. The HfL Business Management Services team are already planning some further inspirational and thought-provoking Forums.


    Carole Bennett , Director of Business Services

    For further information about how HfL can support your MAT please visit our webpage: MAT transition and support services

    Feedback from attendees:

    “The Forum has regenerated my enthusiasm to visit the MAT agenda.”

    “An excellent morning – with lots of food for thought.”

    “Useful discussions with other Heads and Governors.”

    “Interesting and honest content.”

    “It has given me an insight into the developing picture and the place of MATs in the local region.”