What UK multi-academy trusts can learn from the international schools market

Multi-academy trusts haven’t been around for very long, and sometimes it can be difficult to know where to look for knowledgeable advice.

Thankfully, the international schools market has been forming school groups for over 30 years. There’s a lot that UK multi-academy trusts can draw from the experience of these school groups. What’s more, global schools – particularly British internationals – are very high-performing, demonstrating the potential for UK MATs.

Martin Holyoak

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They’ve learned how to turn their rapid expansion into an advantage. Here are some of the epiphanies our international school customers have had along the way.

Growth can be a negative change

UK growth is faster than the ability to manage it, causing many schools to adopt a reactive approach to the challenges they face. These issues are solved as they crop up and budgets are planned based on what schools have available at the time.

The fact is, as the size and number of multi-academy trusts continue to expand, infrastructure hasn’t always expanded to match it. This has led some unfortunate MATs to adopt a disjointed approach which lacks financial oversight, ultimately incurring huge costs.

Growth should be a positive change

International school group sizes also grow at an enormous speed. In 2016, there were roughly 8,000 international schools; now, there stands to be around 12,000 by the end of 2020. This explosion in growth has come about thanks to a proactive approach to school group infrastructure – and modern tech has paved the way.

Without this explosive growth, it wouldn’t have been possible to invest in such powerful technological infrastructure. In many ways, one has fueled the other. Any trusts looking to expand or that are undergoing expansion should therefore look for ways to leverage administrative technology to improve their efficiency.

The same tricks that worked for international school groups work for UK multi-academy trusts. Tech efficiency and leveraging the buying and administrative power of your MAT are key.

Increased competition benefits everybody

Thanks to the rise of MATs, schools don’t have to be tied to local authority systems anymore. This has inspired huge competition in the back-office education technology industry, which benefits everyone, both here and abroad.

Today, the UK’s school management software is more powerful than ever, and schools can and should take full advantage of the benefits.

Leverage your buying power

MATs also have huge buying power that single schools don’t and can leverage this to buy enterprise-level software solutions, ultimately saving themselves money. That’s what international school groups such as ESOL have done to manage every aspect of their back-office administration, raking in huge cost and efficiency savings.

Centralise your administration

Some trusts have devolved responsibilities to individual schools, but international groups have found great success in centralising key back-office functions such as finance and human resources. Again, with cloud technology, this is easy to organise across trusts of any size.

If you’d like to find out more about school management technology and how it could help your MAT, feel free to contact us – we’d be happy to talk to you. You might be surprised by the benefits.

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