Enabling effective performance across Multi-Academy Trusts

Multi-academy trusts (MATs) are required to improve and maintain high educational standards across a number of schools. As part of this, the executive headteachers and governing bodies of the MAT are responsible for the performance of each school in the group, including managing the collective curriculum, maintaining facilities on multiple sites and ensuring that pupil progress is consistently achieving targets.

There are clear benefits to the MAT structure, including stronger collaboration and support in terms of sharing experience and practices among smaller and larger schools. However, when it comes to managing multiple sites, it’s vital to make all processes as streamlined as possible to ensure progress and targets are being met, and therefore positively impacting student attainment.

With Ofsted requiring all staff members to be evaluated against their performance each year, this means that MATs have a lot of staff to track. And with some trusts including a large number of schools, trying to maintain regular communication with that many teachers, while ensuring effective performance and development is taking place at all times becomes an increasing challenge.

And with each school having its own way of evaluating successes, conducting appraisals and assessing objectives, the process of collating everyone’s evidence in an MAT suddenly becomes very difficult.

In order to maximise efficiency, a more streamlined approach is necessary. Therefore a standardised way of submitting evaluations with evidence linking to each staff member’s objectives should be implemented across the board. This will help to create a live, working document that will accurately reflect the performance of both the individuals and the schools within the trust.

Furthermore, doing this digitally means that everything can be managed centrally, and the appropriate heads and governing bodies can access the information at any point, no matter where they are. It will also help to reduce the arduous paper administration traditionally associated with performance management, meaning everything can easily be logged and stored on the system, ready for quick retrieval as and when required throughout the year.

Keeping this communication in one place ensures that conversations between staff members and senior leaders can continue throughout the year, filling the gaps between face-to-face meetings. Notifications can then also be incorporated to remind each member of staff to provide new evidence or information against their objectives when necessary.

As mentioned earlier, a strong benefit to MATs is the ability to share best practice and collaborate, which is especially important when it comes to professional development. Having a central system that also provides a list of training opportunities, as well as an overview and evaluation of all the courses each staff member has completed, allows the trust to monitor where budget is being used across the board and how effective it has been. This can then be shared across the schools, and certain programmes can be recommended to individuals that require development in those particular areas.

Ultimately, everyone that forms part of the MAT needs to be on the same page. Therefore, keeping information in one place and streamlining all processes – whether that’s professional development, self-evaluation or improvement plans – will help contribute to the overall success of the priorities across the trust.

Damien Roberts is the business development director at SchooliP, an online software platform that supports leaders and managers to improve teacher effectiveness through streamlining performance management, professional development and improvement planning. For more information, please visit www.schoolip.co.uk