Author:  Richard Twelvetrees, Experience & Value Enablement Director, de Novo Solutions

Multi-Academy Trusts (MAT) today are heavily focused on achieving effective sustainable growth. Committing precious funding, resource, energy, and time toward exploring how best to ‘grow’ and strengthen the organisation’s various experiences to benefit Pupils, Staff, or other educational stakeholders alike.

Optimising Central Services: The Hub and Spoke Model

Digital technology is a critical conversation to hold when enabling MAT effective growth. However, technology is not a magic bullet.

To achieve meaningful growth, MATs must ensure efficient traction to journey successfully toward triumph. A MATs transformational process needs to confidently embrace a review of the existing operating model, challenging the evolution of central services (back-office) advancement to deliver meaningful change, increase value, and improve quality.

Balancing Finance and People Management for Efficient Growth

Revisiting the best approach for the MAT ‘Hub and Spoke’ service delivery mechanism will mean re-evaluating which services are performed centrally to save time, money, effort, and resource and which services remain at a federated school academy level. Balancing MAT Finance and People Management services execution is pivotal to deliver efficient growth, provide the best experiences moving forward and resulting in the most efficient leveraging of technology innovations.

At de Novo Solutions, we assist our MAT clients in fulfilling their ambitions for effective growth by providing expert advice on modern cloud-based digital technology transformation supporting the critical delivery of MAT-wide people and finance management services modernization. Our six-step growth planner will help MATA readers plan and execute effective conversations when exploring growth.

Developing a Unified Vision Across Academies

Ensure all academies within the MAT participate in the formulation and understanding of a unified vision that spans the complete organization. The vision is essential to guide all growth-related decisions. The vision should establish value markers (see the efficiency and utilization targets below), and through regular communication, the MAT’s vision is shared with stakeholders, including staff, pupils, and parents to foster vision adoption along with progression monitoring markers

Operational Efficiency

KPI: Cost per Student

Below Average Savings: 3-5% (low of £142,200)
Average Savings: 5-10%
Above Average Savings: 10-15% (high of £711,000)

Example: A MAT spends £5,000 per student annually. Below average savings would result in savings of £150-£250 per student Average savings would result in savings of £250-£500 per student Above average savings would result in savings of £500-£750 per student.

Multiplier is 948. 948 is average number of pupils per secondary school (Department for Education (DfE) for the academic year 2022/2023

Resource Utilisation

KPI: Utilisation Rate of Shared Resources

Below Average Savings: 5-10% (low of £SOK)
Average Savings: 10-15%
Above Average Savings: 15-20% (high of £200K+)

Example: A MAT annual budget for shared resources is £1m. Below average savings would result in savings of £50K-£100K. Average savings would result in savings of £100K-£150K. Above average savings would result in savings of £1S0K-£200K+. 

Tailoring Growth Strategies to Address Specific Need

Identify specific needs and gaps across the MAT organisation to tailor and right-size the growth strategy. Establishing priorities and goals (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound) will lead to effective strategic goal progress monitoring. Growth plans must connect technology, process, and people alongside service delivery to deliver a flexible and resilient strategic framework that can accommodate expansion and innovation without compromising the quality of educational service experiences.

Enhancing Engagement and Learning Outcomes through Technology

Deploying robust People and Finance Management services will improve efficiency and transparency. Cloud-based technologies such as Oracle Cloud or ServiceNow are powerful and play a vital role in supporting growth and improvement of MAT operations. Process simplification, adopting leading delivered best practices, and harnessing Odyssea (de Novo Solutions MAT Industry ready solution) will help expedite delivery, reduce cost, and improve the efficiency of People and Finance Management services.

Collaborating for Realistic Growth Scenario Planning

Exploring and evaluating new technology will enhance engagement and improve learning outcomes for all. The delivery of quality, consistent experiences across academies and central services is important for successful People and Finance Management services. Growth plans that are enriched with structured, engaging, and personalised experiences will ensure the diverse and evolving needs of stakeholders are addressed, promoting MAT inclusivity and equal opportunities at every stage.

Work in partnership with other local MAT organisations to learn about their own digital transformation journey experiences will assist with realistic growth scenario planning. Providing regular communication across the community on academy and MAT growth ambition will continuously improve and strengthen flexible development strategies and help people understand the traction achieved and the distance on the journey that remains.

Embracing Digital Transformation for MATs

Conducting regular reviews on the plan for effective growth will assist in identifying areas for improvement, areas to be replicated and cascaded and those to be ended. Data and analytics will inform decision-making processes and measure the impact of growth. Feedback will assist with service improvement; help deliver course correction to ensure the navigation remains on path and arrives on time and on budget securing the right organisational outcomes for all.

To learn more about de Novo Solutions or our leading services that include: Odyssea™ for Multi-Academy Trusts -for’ fixed price, fixed scope, and fixed timescale digital transformations (People / HR Management, Payroll, Talent Management, Finance Management, Procurement, Financial Planning and Reporting) powered by Oracle Cloud and ServiceNow technologies support service.  Or to explore Value as a Service™ (VaaS™) our managed support service that enables our MAT clients to maximise their Oracle Cloud and ServiceNow technology investments using four dimensions to monitor value and benefit spanning – optimisation, efficiency, adoption and innovation.  Please visit: Odyssea™ for Multi-Academy Trusts or follow de Novo on Linkedin and Twitter.

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