Multi Academy Trust
VCA group of schools run by a single academy trust.
Multi Academy Trusts provide a structure for allowing academies to work together and works in a similar way to a hard federation. The Academy Trust manages more than one school each of which can have a separate governing board but the funding agreement for all the schools is held by the Trust.
Diocesan Multi Academy Model
The Diocese has set up an Academy Trust, The Diocese of Chelmsford Vine Schools Trust (Vine). These MATs have a board of directors appoInted by The Chelmsford Diocese Educational Trust, whIch is one of the four Members together with The Chair of the DBE and the Diocesan Director of Education and the chair of the MAT.
Both trusts contain a mixture of schools both former VA and VC schools, each of which is run by its own local governing board, or in some cases a hub board of two or more schools within a local area with powers delegated to it by the MAT boards through a shceme of delegation'.
The Diocese wants good and outstanding schools to carry on their good practice and ensures that they operate within the trust with minimal day to day direction from the trust. There are certain things that have to be consistent across the MATs because each MAT exists as a single legal entity. Examples of consistency of approach within the MATs includes financial software, half termly school improvement visits, headteacher reports to Local Governing Bodies in a common format The MATs work to form a self-supporting group of schools that share good practice, maximise development opportunities for staff, provide succession planning and deliver the best possible education for the pupils within a supportine Christian ethos.
Community schools are able to join a Diocesan MAT and their non-church character is protected by legislation.
Voluntary Aided Model
Two or more VA schools can join together under a Multi Academy Trust set up with a Member from CDET and an appropriate combination of PCC representatives, Incumbents and Chairs of Governors from each school. This could become unwieldy unless carefully managed.
VC and community schools can join a trust of this type and their character is protected by legislation.
Voluntary Controlled Model
In the case of VC schools a similar Membership would have to be agreed maintaining the Church’s 25% representation.
Community schools can join this model but VA schools can't.
Most sponsored academies are part of Multi Academy Trusts where the sponsor controls the Trust and the school governors are appointed to run the school (similar to a Maintained School under a Local Authority).
VA and VC schools can only join such a trust if it has an appropriate make up for the type of school.
Multi Academy Trusts
The Board of Education was encouraged by the number of MAT partnerships we have. The CEOs of our partner MATs meet regularly as do the Finance Operation Managers to compare notes and insights on securing best value for money for our pupils.
Our strategy has always been to develop sufficient partnerships so that there can be a good home for any church school looking to join a MAT. In practice, this means that a MAT must have 25% or more diocesan appointed Members to be able to accommodate a Voluntary Controlled Church of England School or 51+% to be able to include a Voluntary Aided school.
The Board has resolved not to create any more new partnerships for at least 12 months, rather to strengthen and consolidate those we work with already. Some MATs are still very small and need time to grow; others are in the legal process of formation; others are large enough to operate across several hubs.
All MATs must carry out due diligence before taking on a new school as a converter or sponsored school. Factors a MAT will consider include:
Its own rate of managed expansion
Financial viability – much better for small school to apply as a small group than individually.
Vision and Ethos
The established MATs that might consider enquiries from both VA and VC schools are:
The Vine (established by the Diocese of Chelmsford
Mid Essex Anglican Academy Trust (established by St Mary’s, Shenfield)
Great Oak (established by Gt Chesterford)
Genesis Education Trust (established by the federated Schools of St Mary’s and St Saviour’s, Walthamstow with St Margaret’s in Barking)
All Saints Academy Trust (being established by St Andrew’s, Halstead – VC/VA)
The established MATs that might consider enquiries from VC (but not VA) schools are:
Unity Schools Partnership (formerly Samuel Ward Trust)
Other MATs at an advanced stage of being established are:
Canonium Trust (being established by Kelvedon Primary Academy – VC/VA)
Epping Forest (based on a long established cluster of primary schools)
E-MAT (being established by Essex County Council – VC schools only)