MAT Expansion

MAT Mergers & Academy On-Boarding

Announcements suggest additional pressure on Trusts to substantially upscale efforts to reach government targets. Gridserve can equip you with the necessary knowledge and assurance to preserve and enhance your IT efficiency, before, during, and after the integration or addition of more Trusts and academies.

As Multi-Academy Trusts (MATs) embark on expansion journeys, the landscape of challenges and priorities undergoes significant transformation. Among the myriad considerations, Information Technology (IT) infrastructure often risks being relegated to a lower tier of immediate priorities. This trend, while understandable in the context of pressing demands such as governance structures, funding mechanisms, and curriculum development, may inadvertently undermine the foundational role of IT in supporting and enhancing educational delivery and operations.

Strategic Alignment and IT Consideration
The strategic alignment of IT within the expansion blueprint of a MAT cannot be overstated. As trusts grow, so too does the complexity of their operational and educational needs. A robust IT infrastructure not only supports these needs but can also drive efficiencies, foster innovation, and enhance learning outcomes. Prioritising IT involves a proactive approach to planning, investment, and implementation, ensuring that technology solutions evolve in tandem with the MAT's expanding footprint.

DfE Plans for Expansion and Consolidation
of Academy Trusts Across England

In an effort to improve underperforming schools, the government has outlined plans to enlarge, amalgamate, or establish new multi-academy trusts in 55 priority areas. The Department for Education (DfE) asserts that this approach will elevate academic achievement in neglected towns and counties. The academies minister, Baroness Barran, has intimated that the government will more actively use its authority to remove poorly performing academies from trusts.
In areas with the lowest national academic results, leaders are being urged to expand existing trusts or create new ones. The plan is also aimed at preventing any school from being left isolated, merging small, vulnerable trusts into larger groups and managing their viability concerns. The inclusion of schools with less than satisfactory Ofsted ratings is encouraged, but proposals based on unplanned growth are strongly discouraged.

How can Gridserve help?

Gridserve can significantly assist your multi-academy trust in smoothly onboarding additional schools through a variety of ways:
  • IT Infrastructure Assessment:

    Before integrating new schools, Gridserve can evaluate the existing IT infrastructure of both the multi-academy trust and the schools being onboarded. This helps in identifying gaps, understanding compatibility, and assessing the need for upgrades or changes.

  • Strategic IT Planning:

    Gridserve can provide strategic planning for IT integration. This includes creating a roadmap for merging IT systems and ensuring that the technical aspects align with the educational objectives of the trust. Seamless Integration: Gridserve can manage the actual process of IT integration, ensuring that systems are merged smoothly with minimal disruption to learning processes. This could involve data migration, integrating networks, aligning communication platforms, and more.

  • Training and Support:

    Gridserve can provide comprehensive training to staff at all levels - from teaching staff who need to use the IT systems effectively in their classrooms, to administrative personnel who manage school records and databases. They can also provide ongoing technical support to troubleshoot issues and maintain system efficiency.

  • Cybersecurity:

    With the increase in digital learning, cybersecurity has become more important than ever. Gridserve can help protect the sensitive data of students and staff by implementing robust cybersecurity measures, conducting regular audits, and training staff to recognize potential threats.

  • Scalability:

    As more schools are added to the trust, Gridserve can help ensure the IT infrastructure is scalable and can accommodate growth without compromising on performance or security.

Choosing to go it alone when onboarding additional schools into your multi-academy trust could expose your organisation to several risks:
  • Inefficient IT Integration:

    Without the assistance of an IT expert, the integration process could be slow, inefficient, or fraught with errors. This could disrupt the educational process, causing delays and potential data losses.

  • Security Vulnerabilities:

    Without a professional assessment of your IT infrastructure, vulnerabilities may go unnoticed. This could leave your systems open to cyberattacks, putting sensitive data at risk.

  • Inadequate Training:

    Staff might not receive proper training on the new systems, which can lead to inefficient use of resources, decreased productivity, and increased likelihood of user-caused system issues.

  • Poor Scalability:

    If your IT infrastructure isn't designed with scalability in mind, adding more schools could overwhelm the system, leading to poor performance and possible downtime.

  • Lack of Technical Support:

    Without ongoing support from an IT company, troubleshooting issues can be more difficult and time-consuming, causing further disruption to the educational process.

  • Missed Opportunities for Improvement:

    IT experts can often identify opportunities for system improvements or advancements that can enhance productivity and learning outcomes. Without this input, these opportunities could be missed.

Call Gridserve today on
0333 0240 5779