Joining a new MAT – some practical points
When an Academy joins a new or a different Multi-Academy Trust (MAT), in many ways it will feel like the conversion process all over again. There is a change of employer (which means a TUPE consultation has to take place), a transfer of the land, a transfer of commercial contracts and a new Supplemental Funding Agreement will also need to be put in place.
All of these legal issues can potentially be complicated, but hopefully much of the information will be readily available from the original transfer. If it isn't, or if the academy itself has not been running as it should, then there may be a host of issues that need to be resolved. These may include any budget deficits, governance arrangements and also any employment issues.
When all of a MAT's Academies transfer (either to the same or different MATs), this can pose more complex issues. What is key to the process is making sure that the Regional Schools Commissioner (RSC) and Education Funding Agency (EFA) are properly informed, so that if there are any difficulties (especially financial difficulties), these can be quickly identified early on. For example, if there is a Local Governing Body, consideration will need to be given as to what its current delegated powers are compared to what they will be as part of a new MAT. Discussions about ethos and values will need to take place and staff may need to be trained in new policies procedures.
While this can sound daunting, with effective planning and early identification of the issues, the process can be made much easier. This also helps to avoid unexpected issues from arising later on.