For those that don't work in a Multi-Academy Trust, it can be hard to describe what partnership means, or what the benefits are.
Often partnership in the maintained sector is ephemeral and infrequent. Each school is an island, cut off from support, challenge and best practice. Leading a school can also be lonely task.
Our Trust operates differently. We don't subscribe to the mantra that all schools should be the same and recognise that context really matters. However, partnership is 'deep-rooted', collegiate and always apparent. Schools and staff are connected and supported, challenges are shared, and expertise, best practice and capacity circulate freely and on the basis of need. Ultimately we 'have each other's backs' and are 'in it together' to make each school as effective as possible for every child.
In the maintained sector senior staff can be drawn into business management instead of school improvement. However, our Trust provides excellent support and expertise (finance, payroll, HR, ICT, estates, health & safety, marketing & design) so that each Headteacher can focus on the right priorities. This has been even more important in the middle of a global COVID-19 pandemic.
We also pool key resources, especially capital for buildings improvements and ICT, which means the quality of our learning environment and resources is maintained and improved. Trust financial reserves are also targeted to school priorities as required.