Financial immunisation: what MATs can learn from Bill and Melinda Gates and polio vaccination

The UK academy system is still in its infancy. There’s a lot of lessons yet to be learned, and precious few risk-free chances to learn them. Schools don’t get another chance; either pupils leave at the end of their stay with a quality education, or we have in part failed them.

That’s why MATs should look to examples from other sectors and international school successes to help build robust strategies.

Martin Holyoak

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Think like Melinda and Bill Gates

There’s a lot that MATs can learn from the Gates’ approach to polio eradication. That might seem like an odd thing to say, but stay with me here.

In 1988, a united global effort was made to vaccinate 2.5 billion children across 122 countries. Philanthropic organisations would set out to vaccinate communities in a semi-random fashion, but found they were fighting a roaring blaze that they couldn’t put out; new outbreaks were happening every day.

Considering the scale of the problem, these organisations had limited resources, and they weren’t being used as effectively as they could be.

In the same way, issues crop up across multi-academy trusts with near constancy, and with so many locations and factors to consider, it can be a difficult task to manage them. Boilers break down, teacher vacancies go unfilled, and budgets shrivel up when faced with the sheer enormity of tasks that need to be undertaken. These precious resources have to be managed effectively.

Being reactive doesn’t work

In both cases, the reactive approach doesn’t work. If you only set out to fix problems as they arise, you will always be one step behind.

Rather than being reactive, the Gates turned to statistical analysis, building robust models that could predict where the next outbreak would happen. Thanks to this statistical analysis, the problem they set out to solve – polio – is now practically non-existent.

Schools can apply this data-driven approach to solve their own issues. However, without proper oversight of your trust, any kind of statistical analysis is impossible.

Data needs robust tools

When the Gates found they didn’t have the tools they needed to support a data-driven approach, they set out to make them a reality. For schools, modern cloud technology offers schools this level of statistical analysis and can empower schools to take a proactive approach to solving their ever-present issues.

For example, with modern unified ledger systems, even the largest MATs can plan robust curriculum-led budgets, ensuring that their resources are being used to their fullest extent.

In fact, cloud-based administrative suites such as our own PS Financials family of products can offer MATs huge benefits from the offset, making it simple to manage human resources, assets, premises and finances and maximise the value they get from their own limited resources. This administrative and financial data can then be analysed, enabling MATs to plan with financial confidence.

Financial immunisation

Without financial oversight, you have no real way to know what’s being done with your MAT’s funding. The Gates’ fight for immunisation is ongoing, as should MAT’s approach to their finances.

A data-driven approach can lead multi-academy trusts to achieve financial immunisation, protecting them against falling educational standards whatever the current educational climate.

If you’re interested in financial immunisation for your multi-academy trust, you can contact the PS Financials team today by filling in the form on our website. We’re happy to discuss your MAT’s unique needs and tailor a solution that works for your requirements.

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