The difference between SATs and MATs is vast, from their structure to their functionality. They are different legal beings. The Government is pushing towards MATs and if you are a SAT you will be expected to have a strong case for staying that way. These are some of the key factors you should consider when thinking about your SAT or starting or joining a MAT:
- Schools within a MAT can share services such as administration or finance, dealing more efficiently with key services. They can share resources, contacts and processes.
- When a school joins a MAT it ceases to be a legal entity in its own right. The MAT is one legal entity representing all of the schools within it.
- There is one board, making decisions for all of the schools within the MAT. Schools in the MAT can have their own governers, however their role is advisory to the main board. They can have some delegated authority but only if the MAT permits this.
- There are a limited number of places available on a MAT's board and so the later a school joins, the less likely it is they will secure a seat.
- MATs can help schools with similar aims achieve their goals. MATs are generally grouped culturally such as, faith schools, schools in a local area, feeder primary schools and straight through schools. Their shared knowledge and aims help propel the schools to achieve them. You should consider what cultural tie would be beneficial to your school and whether a MAT could support this.
- A school's reputation can be affected by the other schools within their MAT. A MAT containing a successful school can positively impact the reputation of the whole MAT. Likewise, one school failing could tarnish the reputation of the MAT.
- When a school joins a MAT, all of its assets are absorbed. The MAT controls the finances across the schools and has the power to share them amongst the group. You should consider the financial governance proposed at the relevant MAT and whether assets are utilised in a way that would support your schools aims.
If you are considering creating or joining a MAT, please do not hesitate to contact us. We can advise on your school's legal structure, other possible structures and of course assist should your school decide to create or join a MAT.
Daniel Milnes, Partner, Head of Governance, Procurement & Information