Multi Academy Trusts
In this context, as part of the Notice to Improve, Governors were asked to consider starting the process for moving Holland Park School into a MAT. Holland Park School is a stand-alone school, known legally as a Single Academy Trust (SAT). SATs have the legal powers of an academy but do not have the opportunity to share expertise and resources with others within a family of schools, known as a MAT. SATs are independent of the local authority and have only their trustees to hold the leadership team to account.
The Governing Body gave serious consideration as to whether the school should remain as a SAT but concluded that the issues facing the school are such that its successful future would best be served as part of a MAT, which has additional layers of governance and plenty of capacity for support. The Governors sincerely believe that a strong MAT with values that align with those of Holland Park School, will give our children and staff the very best opportunities.
Governors also gave consideration to a local proposal that Holland Park School be joined with another school – the existing headteacher of the supporting school becoming Executive Headteacher over Holland Park School under a Memorandum of Understanding for a temporary period. This was not pursued as it would not have met the objectives on governance as set out in the Notice to Improve nor would it allow the relative autonomy and preservation of identity that Governors believe is desired by the school’s community. In addition, the Governors’ assessment was that more capacity was needed to support Holland Park School due its current fragility.
Like any other state school, the school as part of a MAT, will continue to be free to attend, it will be inspected in the same way, and children will take the same tests and exams. The MAT model will allow our staff to share ideas, expertise and best practice with other schools, and that will make our teaching, which is already at a high standard, even better. They can share good practice on the important things – curriculum, assessment and behaviour. They can also offer structured career pathways for teachers, supported by high-quality professional development so teachers and leaders learn together. This helps support strong recruitment and retention. Teachers and leaders are able to spend more of their time focussed on the one thing that counts the most – the education of children.
Lots of other schools have joined MATs because they gain security from being in a family of schools and they can draw upon the financial, governance and other expertise contained within a group. They want to be sure they can continue to improve by working with other schools in a strong and sustainable cluster.