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Joining an academy

Discussion in 'Primary' started by cool05, Jan 24, 2019.


Should a stable and 'good' mainstream school join a MAT?

Poll closed Jan 31, 2019.
  1. Yes

    1 vote(s)
  2. No

    15 vote(s)
  1. cool05

    cool05 New commenter

    What are the negatives of joining a MAT?
  2. MadHatter1985

    MadHatter1985 New commenter

    I used to work as a teacher at a maintained school which later became part of a MAT. Here are some of the positives and negatives I noticed at that school:

    The head teacher was closely managed by the Academy Directors so had to be careful to follow procedures properly.
    There was no change in the STPCD/Burgundy Book so teachers' terms and conditions were the same.
    There were more visits by MAT consultants, so there was more training.
    The school changed from a nominally religious school to one which took its religious character more seriously.
    There was no immediate changes in staffing after joining a MAT, which allowed continuity for teachers and pupils alike. Change was gradual and incremental.

    The head teacher was no longer making the decisions, but the Academy Directors (who did not know the school context or the pupils as well)
    The school lost control of the budget. (The budget passed to the MAT as a whole)
    There were more visits by MAT consultants and the number of learning walks/amount of scrutiny increased.
    Many policies and decisions were no longer taken at school level but at MAT level.
    The school's religious character became more pronounced, which meant teachers leading prayers. (Not all teachers were comfortable with this).
    The quality of training did not improve.
    The Board of Governors became a symbolic body, which followed the decisions of the Academy Directors.

    It would be great to read others' experiences...
  3. sooooexcited

    sooooexcited Occasional commenter

    Totally and utterly depends on the MAT I'm afraid. Any school would be lucky to join the one I'm in now but the one I was in before was hell on Earth.
  4. TEA2111

    TEA2111 Established commenter

    I wonder if there is a way a teacher can determine whether the MAT is one from hell or not BEFORE applying for a job.
    cool05 likes this.
  5. Piscean1

    Piscean1 Senior commenter

    I think it's been really bad for us. Loads of scrutiny. Really top-heavy leadership structure. No control of budgets. A whole raft of ridiculous policies. It's a business, basically... With a lot of people at the top lining their own pockets on ridiculous salaries.

    Whereas before, certain kids would have been put on pathways to get an EHCP, we now can't afford to get the Ed Psych in, etc. We are failing some of our most vulnerable children because our hands are tied.

    We were initially assured that very little would change and schools would maintain their own characters. That has not been the case. Things are constantly imposed on us and we all have to be clones.
  6. sooooexcited

    sooooexcited Occasional commenter

    The only way to determine is to speak to staff who are already there but this is unlikely to happen unfortunately.
    cool05 likes this.
  7. cool05

    cool05 New commenter

    Thank you all for sharing your experiences. The worst thing is the high level risk involved as once you sign there is no going back or undoing it ever.
  8. carriecat10

    carriecat10 Established commenter Community helper

    There is a way out if not back ... I know of at least 2 schools locally who have extracted themselves from one MAT and chosen to join another. In both cases these schools were so much better informed the second time around. They knew what they wanted and where to look.
  9. chloef23

    chloef23 New commenter

    Joining a MAT was the worst decision my school has made in my time there. It has created lots of high-salary management positions all of which are better paid and better valued by the directors than any 'front-line staff'.

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