Some of the Academies or MAT’s who have been established for a couple of years are now starting to show the strain as they were not initially structured to deal with the new challenges being faced of reducing budgets, difficulty in recruiting new Teachers and the preferred model of the DfE being that MAT’s adopt “pool” funding.
More MAT’s and Academies are now going into deficit and I fully expect that following the filings of the 2016/17 accounts, this number will increase.
The DfE’s vision is that the larger the MAT the more viable it will become as it will be able to take advantage of bulk buying and sharing services. On paper this is correct, however, again if the MAT is structured correctly to exploit this, then it will not work.
Whilst the larger MAT’s should be effective for driving savings, it is not for driving school improvement as you are extremely unlikely to get all of the schools working effectively together as they will have different issues and priorities and may also be from different geographical areas. In this instance, the “pod” model has shown to be more effective.
Every MAT and Academy is different so there isn’t really a “one size fits all” and therefore planning is essential and this can take time and the external message to all stakeholders must be very clear.