primary & secondary education Training

Effectively Growing a Successful Multi-Academy Trust

primary & secondary education Training

09:15 - 16:15

Tuesday 29 January 2019

Cavendish Conference Centre, Central London

Establishing and growing a Multi Academy Trust (MAT) can help achieve better attainment for pupils, stronger financial status and more flexible staffing and property resources. As Trusts grow, they need to be sure that the support they offer individual academies is sufficient and proportionate to their need.

Join this Effectively Growing a Successful Multi-Academy Trust training course where you will learn from real life examples to effectively manage centralised resources and systems, achieve educational excellence and take away winning strategies for establishing a strong governance and leadership structure across the Trust.


Learning Objectives:
  • Discover how to achieve educational excellence in your MAT
  • Share lessons learnt from an established and successful MAT
  • Leave with a successful leadership and governance model for your MAT
  • Take away effective strategies for driving your MAT growth plan


Mark Blois, Head of Education, Browne Jacobson LLP, National Leader of Governance, Chairman of the Board, L.E.A.D Academy Trust


Leora Cruddas, Chief ExecutiveConfederation of School Trusts

Paul Smith, CEO, Future Academies

John McDermott, Director of Finance, Robin Hood Academy Trust 

Mark Lacey, Chief Executive Officer, Diocese of Salisbury Academy Trust

View the agenda and additional speakers
Mark Blois

Head of Education, Browne Jacobson LLP and National Leader of Governance, Chairman of the Board, L.E.A.D Academy Trust

Mark is a Partner and Head of the Education team at Browne Jacobson, a leading national education law firm, personally having almost twenty years’ experience as an education lawyer.

He has been recommended as a Leader in his field in the industry bibles ‘Chambers UK’ and ‘Legal 500’ for more than ten years. In 2015 ‘Chambers UK’ dubbed him “an industry leader” and ‘Legal 500’ described him as “exceptional”.

He was named Lawyer of the Year at the Nottinghamshire Law Society Awards in 2012 and designated a National Leader of Governance by the NCTL in 2015.

He has previously served as a member of the Regional Council of the Learning and Skills Council, as a Director of the National Governors’ Association and on the Board of a 157 Group FE College. Mark is currently the Chair of the L.E.A.D Academy Trust, a twelve school academy group in the Midlands and is also a long-standing Teach First mentor.

He regularly speaks at national conferences including those of the Association of School & College Leaders, National Association of Head teachers, National Association of School Business Management, National Governors’ Association and the National Association of Special Educational Needs and he has been interviewed by BBC Panorama, Radio Four and Sky News.

He has contributed over 100 papers, articles and book chapters to education literature on a variety of aspects of education law and has given oral evidence to the House of Commons Education Select Committee. Mark is married with twin daughters.

Paul Smith

CEO, Future Academies

Over almost 20 years Paul has gained wide experience in schools, leading his own schools to be judged as Outstanding by Ofsted and turning around some of the toughest schools in the North of England. Paul started his career in Primary Education teaching across EYFS, KS1 and KS2. He has also spent time as an Advanced Skills Teacher teaching in KS3 and KS4. Paul has gained a reputation for leading highly effective teams to secure outstanding outcomes for all pupils regardless of background.

Through his work with the National College of Teaching and Leadership, as an NLE and head of a Teaching School, he has worked on developing several national programmes looking at improving system leadership in the sector. He has worked on several key development groups at the Department for Education over the last 15 years including the National Headteacher reference group. Paul has also worked as an Ofsted inspector and has taken part in international visits to schools in Shanghai, Sweden and South Africa.

More recently Paul took up the post as one of the first Regional Schools Commissioner at the Department for Education (he was responsible for Lancashire and West Yorkshire). Raising standards across schools in the North West of England and establishing the Blackpool Challenge initiative to raise outcomes in the local area. Paul is Accounting Officer for the Trust.

Mark Lacey

Chief Executive Officer, Diocese of Salisbury Academy Trust

Since September 2015, Mark has served as Chief Executive of the Diocese of Salisbury Academy Trust.  The trust comprises of fifteen academies, across Wiltshire and Dorset.  The Trust serves 2,750 pupils and has a clear and active growth strategy as it seeks to drive forward improvement of its academies, the vast majority of which entered the Trust under sponsored arrangements.

The Diocese of Salisbury Academy Trust has a vision for the growth of thriving learning communities, that provide everyone with the opportunity to achieve more than they ever thought possible. Christian values and service are at the heart of all we do, as we help young people to develop excitement in learning.

Mark served as Headteacher in a large challenging primary school in South Bristol.  Appointed to headship at the age of 30, Mark led the school from inadequate to good.  Key to the success of the school was the relentless focus on creating and maintaining an empowering vision for all members of the school community.  Alongside this, development of people was key, and the school developed its own programme of coaching for all staff as well as being recognised as a Gold Level Investor in People.

Mark also led the development of the Malago Learning Partnership, a collaboration of 9 local schools.  As Chair of the group he guided the development of a highly successful school improvement strategy, an in-depth joint practice development programme and a range of curriculum and assessment programmes.  In 2012 he led his school through the academy conversion process.  He has also served for a number of years as a governor at a secondary school within the partnership. which achieved its first ever ‘good’ inspection outcome during this time.

John McDermott

Director of Finance, Robin Hood Academy Trust

John is the Finance Director of Robin Hood Multi Academy Trust and has been in post since September 2017. He has a rich financial background in schools and has worked across the West Midlands region in local authority schools, church schools and academies including several other multi academy trusts.

John leads on academy conversions and interacting with the DFE and EFSA for the MAT as the strategic financial lead at Robin Hood Trust.

He was on the Board of Directors of the Robin Hood MAT at its inception and was invited onto the Board of Members of a Trust that had a Financial Notice to Improve which has now been rescinded. He is a governor at an academy in Birmingham and Chair of Finance at a church school in Solihull. He sits on Solihull Schools Forum and their Finance Working Group.




Chair's Welcome & Clarification of Learning Objectives

Mark Blois, Head of Education, Browne Jacobson LLP, National Leader of Governance, Chairman of the Board, L.E.A.D Academy Trust (CONFIRMED)


Ensuring Sustainable Growth of Multi-Academy Trusts

  • Vision and level of ambition for growth
  • An overview of the national context and tools for strategic planning
  • Locating your growth plan in a strategic analysis

Leora Cruddas, Chief Executive, Confederation of School Trusts (CONFIRMED)


Achieving Adaptable, Scalable Governance in a Growing Multi Academy Trust

  • The core principles of effective and accountable governance in a MAT
  • The implications for effective governance as the MAT develops and expands
  • Evolving governor’s responsibility in expanding trust
  • Future challenges to governance and leadership

Mark Blois, Head of Education, Browne Jacobson LLP, National Leader of Governance, Chairman of the Board, L.E.A.D Academy Trust (CONFIRMED)


Morning Break


Achieving Educational Excellence in a Multi-Academy Trust

  • Consider the benefits of joining or growing your MAT and impact on attainment
  • Understand the impact of “health checks” and consider the performance of academies applying to join the MAT
  • Learn how to increase standards and improve attainment in your MAT

Paul Smith, CEO, Future Academies (CONFIRMED)




Developing and Implementing a Successful Financial Planning System

  • Learn best practice on financial planning and health when expanding the trust
  • Prioritise successful financial management
  • Ensure effective budgeting to promote efficiency
  • Find out how to maximise budgets to support development of multiple academies

John McDermott, Director of Finance, Robin Hood Academy Trust (CONFIRMED)


Afternoon Break


Workshop: Developing a Successful Growth Model for your MAT

This session will offer practical guidance on developing and driving your MAT growth strategy considering:

  • Shared vision and values
  • Effective training for leaders and staff
  • Geographical proximity
  • Central resources and systems
  • Strong common quality assurance arrangements
  • Leadership development and school improvement

Mark Lacey, Chief Executive Officer, Diocese of Salisbury Academy Trust (CONFIRMED)


Feedback, Evaluation and Close

*Programme subject to change

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