We will be keeping the website updated with any further answers to questions that come through from you or other interested parties. Please visit these pages regularly to be kept up to date. If you have any individual queries or comments, send these through using the form (click here). 


What is a Multi Academy Trust (MAT)? 

A MAT is a charitable trust/business that operates more than one academy school. Academy schools, such as Noadswood, are state-funded schools in England which are directly funded by the Department for Education and independent of local authority control. By working in partnership with each other, schools within a MAT can work together to deliver the best outcomes for staff, students and the community they serve. While other types of school partnerships can be effective, the key difference with a MAT is that there is shared accountability for standards across the trust; all schools within the trust support each other and the trust is accountable for them all. However, before any agreements are signed, the trust would work with schools to agree those matters that will be handled centrally (for example legal services and financial auditing) and those that will remain the responsibility of the individual school’s Local Governing Board. This agreement will be encapsulated in the Scheme of Delegation.  

Why would we want to join a MAT? 

Over recent years our vision has included strengthening and deepening partnerships and working in collaboration in the interests of all our children and their families across the Waterside. We believe the time could be right to join a local MAT to bring our vision to life. 

The recently published March 2022 schools’ white paper (England) also states the Government’s move to a fully trust-led system by 2030. Schools have always operated within a changing educational landscape and at Noadswood, we have been preparing for this eventuality and want to ensure we have choice and are exploring up ahead of that timeline the scope for being truly aligned in terms of vision, ethos and values with a local MAT. 

What are the benefits for our children, colleagues, families and our community? 

We are excited around the numerous potential benefits for all in the Noadswood family and in summary this is what we can expect: 

  • Expanding knowledge: we can deepen our understanding of education across all phases and age ranges. This learning can then be shared with our partner primary schools.  
  • Seamless transition: we can further support children’s step up from primary to secondary school and also establish a smooth transition between key phases, ensuring every child is settled, secure and ready for the next phase of their educational journey.  
  • Enhanced enrichment opportunities: increasing children’s exposure to different experiences, cultures and communities to support their learning, develop their interests and talents, and increase their cultural capital. Our aim would be to have joint events, including music and drama festivals. 
  • Sharing of best practice across a MAT: this drives up academic standards, provides access to specialist teaching and increases professional development and training opportunities for all staff: teaching and support. 
  • Economies of scale: with a higher number of schools procuring services or goods together, this increases the purchasing power of a MAT and its schools. 
  • Shared goals: to ‘belong’ alongside other, like-minded schools and professionals. 
  • Shared cultivation: developing community hubs around our children and young people and families; providing a range of specialist services from social care and youth work to mental health. 

What would happen to the relationship with our current partner schools who are not in a MAT we may decide to join?  

We would continue to work closely with all our partner primary schools and with our local secondary friends, too, and would in fact aim to deepen and strengthen this work as is always our intent and our practice; meeting regularly, sharing best practice and ensuring high quality transition arrangements and excellent partnership opportunities for all children will remain our foci with each other. So things will be as now, aiming to go from strength to strength, together, just as usual. Joining a MAT does not need to restrict other partnership work and we would not join one where this would be the case. 

Will the values and ethos of our school change? 

Our values and ethos will not change as we would only join a MAT whose vision and values are closely aligned with ours. We believe our school ethos would in fact be improved upon and enhanced by joining a MAT through better, even more systematic collaborative work, shared accountabilities across the community we serve and rich, shared work on all things teaching and learning, curriculum and wellbeing.  

How would the identity and distinctiveness of our school be maintained? Will there be a change to the name of our school, school uniform, curriculum etc.? 

There would be no changes to our school identity, name, uniform, curriculum or our house system because of us joining a MAT. There would be no disruption to our students’ education, merely opportunities for greater partnership work and deeper shared accountabilities for the very best across children’s ages and stages of development. 

How would communications and day to day leadership be affected by Noadswood joining a MAT? 

Communication channels would remain as now, with the tutor as the first port of call, then our Year Leader Teams, our Subject Leaders and our Leadership Team and our Headteacher exactly as now. It is simply that leaders at all levels of the school will benefit from collaborating in a systematic, accountable way with other schools to share knowledge and cultivate best practice in the interests of our children, under the umbrella of the MAT.  

What will happen to our Governing Body? 

There are three tiers of governance in a MAT: 

  1. Members 
  2. Board of Trustees  
  3. Local Governing Bodies 

Representatives of our current board would join that of a MAT, and we would retain a Local Governing Board.  

Will the admissions policy change? 

The current admission arrangements would remain in place, and we see no reason to change them.  

What are the risks associated with joining a MAT? 

We have given this great thought: we are resolved to ensure that we do not lose or dilute the distinctiveness and ethos of Noadswood, and instead we will work to enhance these through the collaborative work we would be doing in a MAT even more systematically than we do now.   

We would only join a MAT where we feel the culture and ethos are aligned with our own, and where we feel confident that the growth strategy of that MAT wouldn’t, down the line, result in our distinctiveness and that ethos changing in any way that wasn’t in the interests of our students and our colleagues.  

We would also pay close attention to the financial benefits of joining a MAT through a very thorough, reciprocal financial due diligence process to reassure us that the needs of the students within each school in the MAT will not be hindered but instead will be enhanced by the financial arrangements in place there.  

What have been the key considerations about joining a MAT?  

We take great pride in educating and nurturing the children across the Waterside and we believe it would therefore be in our best interests to join a local MAT which also has a strong moral purpose to support the communities they serve. We are also keen to join a well-established MAT with a growth strategy in place that could include other local secondary school and primary school members further down the line, should those schools wish to join, whilst not precluding strong shared work and excellent transition arrangements with schools who do not choose to do this. 

What are the timelines for joining a MAT? 

We want to reassure our staff, students, parents and community that we would not rush into a decision to join a MAT that is not in line with our vision, ethos and values. We will be consulting with staff, students and parents for a period of four weeks. We will be obtaining their views and comments across as many methods as possible including online forms, informal meetings, briefing sessions and information events until Friday 27th May 2022. At the same time, there are also formal discussions happening within the Board of Trustees (our Governing Body). If we decide to join a MAT, the timeline from decision to then doing so will be carefully planned and shared with colleagues, parents and carers and students just as soon as it is agreed and determined after the consultation. 

Colleague specific matters

What are the implications for staff if Noadswood were to join a MAT? 

If Noadswood joins a MAT, all colleagues would go through what is known as the TUPE transfer process which protects employees’ terms and conditions of employment when their employment is transferred from one employer to another. The terms and conditions of employment of the transferring employees are maintained so there will be no changes in roles or contracts.  

Our colleagues will not be expected to change/move to other schools within a MAT, but there will be opportunities for professional development, joint training, collaboration and sharing of best practice between schools for people to enjoy in the interests of our school improvement objectives for the young people. These enhanced opportunities would then positively impact on the quality of teaching, learning and provision. 

Colleague questions and views, as part of this consultation and in the future, will be represented through online surveys, involvement in projects and planning meetings and through our staff forum.