Operating the Trust


Building capacity and expertise

The Trust’s cultural approach to operating a MAT is to ensure that:

  • Leadership capacity and capability is built from within
  • The Trust doesn’t rely heavily on external ‘professionals’ to prop up schools or inform trustees of what requires improvement.

The Trust will encourage its leaders in schools to work across schools and foster a culture of mutual support and development.
Headteachers may take a cross-Trust responsibility, as well as their individual school responsibility, as a way of developing this approach and validating practice across a number of schools.

School to school support refers to the wider deployment of expertise and the sharing of best practice across schools. These are fundamental to our growth and development.

We will actively seek to succession plan and develop our middle leaders, building capacity and validating practice in and across our schools. At present, school to school support is focused on middle leadership development, a common data dashboard project using the MIS system used by all schools and internal Ofsted visits across schools. However, it is not limited to these initial projects being funded by the DfE Sponsor Capacity Fund.

External educational professional(s): Education professional(s) will be responsible to the CEO function and/or Chair of the Trust. They will have a key role in supporting the Education Standards Committee in annually scrutinising performance data, providing in-depth independent insight into each school’s educational performance.

Senior leadership/educational professionals can be drawn externally from the education sector, or may be positions granted by the Trust to senior Trust leaders who have particular expertise or credibility (such as a National Leader in Education, for example).

Our business model: providing business process support to schools through Group Services

We help school leaders focus on teaching, learning and assessment and the learner experience. Back office services will be provided by the Sponsor’s appointed Group Services teams, established by the Sponsor to support the schools and colleges in the Activate Learning group and commercial customers (such as eight UTCs buying marketing services from this function).

Schools in the MAT will benefit from a range of back office services supplied at cost by the Activate Learning Group Services division. Activate Learning Education Trust will tender for and contract these services from Activate Learning and will market test these services every three years, to ensure they are provided at cost and provide value for money. The cost of providing these services will be covered from an element of the ‘core’ GAG retained by the Trust for this purpose.

Schools in the Activate Learning Educational Trust will draw from Group Services relating to:

  • Trust operations
  • Education strategy
  • Policy development
  • Corporate clerking services
  • Finance
  • Marketing and communications
  • HR
  • MIS
  • Data and exams
  • Property and estates.

Leaders across the Trust and providers of Group Services will work together to improve cost effectiveness and service levels, as these services to schools are enhanced and developed. The Trust will seek to sell these services to third party schools to help improve the cost effectiveness, range and depth of these services. If service provision standards fall, the CEO function will intervene and seek to raise standards to those defined in service level agreements.

The Activate Learning Educational Trust Board may seek other ways in which to build economies of scale as pressure on school funding increases, by sharing posts or building strategies for sustainability.