Following on from the backing of the Government proposing that as many schools as possible join Multi Academy Trusts, PaJeS received final approval from the DfE for the establishment of the Jewish Schools Academy Trust. We are currently in discussions with a number of schools who are interested in joining a MAT.
Background – What is a Mat?
A Multi-Academy Trust (MAT) is a single entity that is legally responsible for a group of academy schools. Its purpose is to undertake strategic collaboration in order to improve and maintain high educational standards across its member schools. A MAT is accountable for the performance of each school in the group, although each can still have their own governing body which operates subject to delegation of power from the MAT. A master funding agreement with the MAT, and supplemental funding agreements with each individual school, is signed by the Secretary of State for Education. All staff are employed by one employer and the trust can share the additional reporting responsibilities required of an academy.
Why join a MAT?
A MAT enables member schools to build on existing partnerships, work collaboratively and support each other in order to improve attainment. Some of the key benefits are:
- sharing best practice
- economic benefits, such as centralised services
- the ability to focus funds where they are most needed
- increased and flexible staffing resources
- the opportunity to establish succession planning programmes and, in doing so, retain good staff who might otherwise move on.
Member schools can benefit from the experience and expertise in school improvement offered by the MAT leadership. At the same time, the MAT model offers schools the potential to retain their unique characteristics and maintain their own local governing bodies. It also offers Headteachers a high degree of autonomy in leading their schools, whilst giving them the freedom to focus on teaching and learning. Schools who have joined MATs have reported such benefits as:
- high-quality staff development
- enrichment opportunities for students
- investment in school facilities
- greater community involvement
- a clearer identity and focus
- a stronger focus on teaching and learning
- a stronger focus on data and pupil attainment
- more effective governance
The Jewish Schools Academy Trust
The Jewish Schools Academy Trust will present unique opportunities to Jewish schools – protecting their individual Jewish ethos whilst also consolidating resources, enabling additional sources of revenue, and offering a range of educational and support services.
Furthermore, current government policy dictates that any school receiving a Level 4 ‘inadequate’ grading from Ofsted must convert to academy status and needs a sponsoring body for this. The Department for Education expressed concern to PaJeS that there is currently no sponsoring body within the Jewish community to incorporate Jewish schools if the need arises, and by setting up the Jewish Schools Academy Trust we will be able to meet this need.
We see this as an exciting opportunity for the dissemination of good practice and educational excellence across a number of Jewish primary and secondary schools. Under the leadership of Rabbi David Meyer and Brian Jones, interim Chief Executive of The Jewish Schools Academy Trust, we look forward to a new chapter for our Jewish schools.