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Considerations for conversion: should you lead a MAT or join one?

Image credit: Branta canadensis by Chris - licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.

Considerations for conversion: should you lead a MAT or join one?

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Governor Live logoOur series of Governor Live online events continues with the final two sessions in the Considerations for Conversion series. These sessions – which like all Governor Live online events is free to register and attend – will be held on this Thursday the 1st and next Thursday the 8th of December 2016 – both at 8pm until 9pm – and will allow governors to explore some of the practical considerations they will need to bear in mind around converting to academy status.

The future in governors’ hands

At the recent NGA conference in Manchester, David Carter – the National Schools Commissioner – reflected the recent changes to the government’s direction of travel, namely that now there is no compulsion to become an academy, governors can now for the most part make decisions themselves and decide what is best for their school. He was clear that there is a change of focus, with school structures useful only in so much as they assist school improvement:

It’s definitely worth a read of some of the tweets which covered the NGA conference – see this Storify covering the event – both David Carter and Belita Scott (Ofsted’s lead on governance) were very, very clear around what good governance looks like – and contributors such as Tony Breslin were challenging on what a picture of governance might look like in a changing system:

Some might assert that getting a clear steer on academisation is harder to do now – as non-academised schools we’re not being route-marched to a destination, but instead encouraged there, with the funding levers (such as the removal of funds from LAs) seeming to ‘help’ such a move. This does mean that unless our school falls into an Ofsted category or falls in the definition of ‘coasting’ that it’s down to us, as governors, to determine how we approach a change of status. For his part David Carter was clear that, as a former head of maintained schools and academies, he saw a mixed economy of both in the future – though it’s clear that multi-academy trusts (MATs) are seen as the new order of things:

In the light of the recent announcements, the next Considerations for Conversion online events focus on the two main options for schools wishing to academise – either to lead a new MAT or join an existing one. As ever, there is no “Modern Governor line” on academisation – these events are about helping governors to make informed decisions about what to do – whether it’s to lead a MAT, join a MAT, do further research, or hold back for the moment.

Feedback from the first two Considerations for Conversion sessions has been fantastic – we had lots of visitors to the Modern Governor stand at the NGA conference saying how useful, enjoyable & welcoming the previous sessions have been, and here are details of the next two:

Session 3: Leading a MAT – Thursday 1st December

In this third session the same three experts – Christine Bayliss of C:BECS, Michelle Gray of berg and Karen Rae from Armstrong Watson – will look in more depth at what lead a MAT would mean for a school. We’ll touch on the role of Members, how Trustees differ from governors in a maintained school, what the role of a CEO is and isn’t and we’ll touch on what the scheme of delegation means from the ‘top’ of a MAT. In common with all of these sessions we’ll take a closer look at the legal and financial implications of leading a MAT – of course this isn’t a substitute for diligent preparation and research by governors in your school, but will help you prepare for this process, by giving you areas of interest and questions to ask.

Session 4: Joining a MAT – Thursday 8th December

The final session in this series will examine what will probably be the most popular route for schools becoming an academy – joining an established MAT. Governors play a critical role in this process as well, and it’s important to understand what the implications of joining a MAT are. We’ll explore what the scheme of delegation means for a school which joins a MAT, what should be covered by due diligence and what the governors’ role in this is, as well as the important legal and financial changes that a school will have to deal with as part of this process.

Considerations for Conversion is presented by Modern Governor in conjunction with berg, Armstrong Watson and C:BECS – and all sessions are free to register for and attend. You can review the first two session from the Considerations for Conversion series in our collection of articles previewing and reviewing them.

Registration is free and enables you to access any future Governor Live online events. Each session will be recorded – and even if you can’t attend on the night(s), registering will give you access to the recordings as soon as they are released – and you can replay the first two sessions on the Modern Governor YouTube channel.


Image credit: Branta canadensis by Chris – licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.


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