academy conversion

Academy Conversions & MAT Formation

PAG Staff2024, Case Studies, free schools, Governance, online resources, Project Management, Schools, Transition

Academy Conversions
& MAT Formation

In the last decade, the landscape of the English education system has undergone significant transformations, with a prominent shift towards the conversion of traditional state schools into academies, and the formation of multi-academy trusts (MATs). This movement has reshaped the way education is managed and delivered, offering a new paradigm that promised enhanced autonomy, tailored educational strategies, and potentially, improved outcomes for students. However, not everyone has gone through the transition; in this blog we look at the reasons and benefits of doing so, allowing you to decide whether an academy conversion is right for your school.

Why academy conversions?

Academies are state-funded schools in England that are free from local authority control, which allows them more freedom in certain areas, including curriculum design, financial management, and staffing policies. This shift towards academy status is driven by several factors:

  1. Autonomy & Flexibility
    One of the primary reasons schools opt for academy status is the autonomy it brings. Freed from the constraints of local authority, academies can tailor their curriculum to better meet the needs and interests of their students. This flexibility extends to budget management, enabling schools to allocate resources more efficiently and effectively.
  2. Innovation in Teaching & Learning
    Academies have the liberty to innovate in teaching methodologies and learning strategies. This can lead to the development of more engaging and effective educational practices that cater to the diverse learning styles of students.
  3. Access to Additional Funding
    Academies often have access to funding sources not available to traditional state schools. This can include sponsorships and grants from private entities, providing additional resources for enrichment activities, facilities upgrades, and specialized programs.

Forming or joining a Multi-Academy Trust 

A MAT is a group of academies under a single trust, working together to achieve higher standards through collaboration. Joining or forming a MAT can offer several benefits:

  1. Economies of Scale
    MATs can achieve significant economies of scale, reducing costs through shared services such as IT support, HR, and procurement. This can free up more funds to be directed towards teaching and learning.
  2. Enhanced Support & Collaboration
    Schools within a MAT can share best practices, resources, and expertise, fostering an environment of support and collaboration. This collective approach can help schools tackle challenges more effectively and drive improvements across the trust.
  3. Strengthened Leadership & Governance
    MATs provide an opportunity for stronger governance and leadership, pooling together a wealth of experience and knowledge from different schools. This can lead to more strategic decision-making and oversight, enhancing the educational provision across the trust.
  4. Improved Opportunities for Staff & Students
    Being part of a MAT can open up a broader range of opportunities for professional development for staff and enrichment activities for students. It also allows for greater mobility within the trust, offering staff the chance to progress in their careers.


The shift towards academies and the formation of multi-academy trusts represents dynamic and forward-thinking approaches to education in England. While the transition has come with its challenges, the potential benefits — from enhanced autonomy and flexibility to opportunities for collaboration and innovation — make a compelling case for schools considering this path. As the education sector continues to evolve, academies and MATs will play a pivotal role in shaping education in England, offering promising avenues for enhancing student outcomes and educational quality.