Institute of Education


UCL Institute of Education launches new leadership programme for top teams in Multi-Academy Trusts

23 November 2016

Adults having a discussion in a workshop

The UCL Institute of Education's London Centre for Leadership in Learning (LCLL) has today launched a new leadership programme for CEOs and top teams in Multi-Academy Trusts (MATs).

The nine month programme, in partnership with Deloitte, is aimed at newly formed or existing MATs with between five and 15 schools. It is designed to meet the needs of MAT leadership teams that are interested in growing to secure economies of scale, whilst also building a shared culture and improvement model that strengthens every school.

The government's 2016 white paper (Educational Excellence Everywhere) clearly indicates that MATs will be a central feature of the self-improving school-led system. With this in mind, the programme will equip leaders with the skills they need to form and lead a medium-sized MAT. Even for an experienced Head teacher or Executive Head, the shift to leading a chain of five or more schools can require a fundamental change in leadership style and approach.

The programme is split into three modules, which cover the areas of strategic leadership and governance, sustainable operations and high performance, and educational improvement and innovation. Leaders will understand how they can better create and implement a sustainable strategy for growth.

Speaking of the programme, Professor Toby Greany, Director of LCLL, said:

"Multi-Academy Trusts are rapidly developing as the central governance structure for England's academy school system but face some acute challenges as they grow. The new Trust-ED team leadership programme is designed to help address these challenges.

"The recent slew of negative news stories about a subset of trusts highlight some of the financial, governance and performance challenges facing the sector - if these are not tackled then the wider legitimacy of MATs could come into question. 

"LCLL has designed the programme in partnership with Deloitte, drawing on expertise from across UCL - for example, with inputs from Dame Nicola Brewer (UCL Global Engagement) and Dr Jim Berry (UCL School of Management). We believe that there is much that MAT leaders can learn from experience and research in business, the voluntary sector and more widely. 

"We will not pretend that there are definitive answers, as the MAT sector continues to develop, but we do believe that well-structured collaborative learning can help you participants to develop as individuals, teams and organisations."

Building on this, LCLL has been commissioned by the Church of England Foundation for Educational Leadership to run a programme for existing or aspiring CEOs from Church of England Diocesan MATs, MATs led by Church of England schools, and those that include Church of England schools.