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Change Management Programs enable Multi Academy Trusts (MATs) to deploy new processes to improve students’ outcomes. These programs involve devising change initiatives, transforming data into intelligence, generating organizational buy-in and setting in place a repeatable scrutiny model for ensuring continued innovation.

A Change Management Program moves power away from the board, empowers middle leaders, shows where and when under-achievement is likely to occur and lays out a strategy for mitigating risks and monitoring progress.

There is a lot of information available regarding the effective MAT. From the ‘Good Practice guidance and expectation for growth’ (December 2016 Department of Education) to Naureen Khalid’s article – Where does Power really lie in MATs? (19/12/2016) the focus is quite clearly on governance. And this is as it should be for the MAT to function but it is not what it is about. Indeed, some struggling MATS are trying to get to grips with governance when they probably would make more progress if they focused on change management.

Change Management Programs require managers to:

  • Focus on student outcomes:

Maintaining a goal-oriented mindset by establishing clear, non-negotiable goals pre supposes a sophisticated ability to set aspirational targets. Setting aspirational targets requires an excellent understanding of contextualised data and this understanding is often replaced by a target which is plucked from thin-air.

  • Identify and overcome barriers to change.

If these aspirational targets do not require change, they are not aspirational. Multi Academy Trusts need to measure and manage the risk of change whilst embarking on an path which promotes innovative teaching.

  • Repeatedly communicate simple, powerful challenges to key staff.

  • Ensure buy-in throughout the organization. To allow buy-in to reach all levels of an organization, Multi Academy Trusts need to have a clear roles and responsibilities map which clearly identifies accountability. If people are to be made accountable, they have to be able to implement change.

  • If change is to be implemented, the effective MAT will consider its internal data flows which should come from the chalk face, move up to those who are accountable and sent back down to the chalk face as intelligence by, for example, contextualising the original data which was sent ‘up’ the chain.

  • Continuously monitor progress.

  • Multi Academy Trusts follow through and monitor the progress of each change initiative to tell if it is following the intended path or veering off course. This ensures that innovation does not move towards experimentation.

Effective Multi Academy Trusts use Change Management Programs to implement major strategic initiatives to challenge the standards of teaching of learning to improve outcomes. A MAT with clunky governance which focuses on leveraging the power of its teachers will be successful. A MAT which struggles and so focuses on governance to improve outcomes might spend too much time missing the target.

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