When an individual school is part of a multi-academy trust (MAT), stakeholders (parents, students, staff, and the wider community) need to understand the relationship and the benefits it brings.
What are the best things you can do to ensure that users who visit your academy websites are aware of the Trust and what that means for students and families? How can you effectively convey the benefits of schools being part of your trust, rather than local authority-maintained schools?
Here are our key recommendations for content that schools could include on their websites to effectively convey their association with Multi Academy Trusts.
Dedicated Multi Academy Trust Website Page
Creating a dedicated page for the Trust on the school website is crucial. This page should serve as a comprehensive source of information about the Trust.
- Detailed History and Evolution of the MAT - Elaborate on when and why the Trust was established, its growth over the years, and key milestones. This historical context helps stakeholders understand the foundation and development of the Trust.
- Vision, Mission, and Core Values - Clearly articulate the MAT’s vision and mission statements and how it aligns with your schools. Describe the core values that guide its operations and decision-making processes. This helps to align stakeholders with the MAT’s overarching goals and ethos and allows you to differentiate yourself from maintained schools.
- Specific Benefits for Different Stakeholders - Describe in detail how being part of the Trust benefits students, staff in all your schools, and the wider community. This could include enhanced learning opportunities, professional development for teachers, and stronger community engagement.
Multi Academy Trust Logo
The visual integration of the Trust's logo on the school's website, especially on the homepage, is a subtle yet powerful way of signalling the association.
This could be:
- Strategically Placing the Multi Academy Trust Logo - Ensure the Trust's logo is placed where it is easily noticeable, perhaps in a corner of the header or footer, or next to the school's logo.
- Linking the Logo to the Dedicated Multi Academy Trust Page - Make the logo a clickable link that directs users to the dedicated Trust page for more information.
Highlighting joint initiatives underscores the collaborative nature of the Trust.
This section could include:
- Descriptions of Unique Programs - Explain any special educational programs, shared resources, or collaborative events that are a direct result of the school's involvement with the Trust.
- Impact Stories - Share specific examples of how these initiatives have positively impacted students, staff, or the community.
Multi Academy Trusts Governance Structure
Transparency in governance is key. Provide a clear outline of the governance structure, showing how the school's leadership fits within the broader Trust framework.
Your website should:
- Diagrammatic Representation of the MAT Structure - Use diagrams or flowcharts to visually represent the governance structure. This makes it easier for stakeholders to understand how the school fits into the wider Trust.
- Profiles of Key Leadership Figures - Include brief profiles of leaders both at the school and Trust level, highlighting their roles and responsibilities.
Testimonials - Demonstrating School Improvement
Real-life testimonials are a powerful tool for connection. Share testimonials from staff, students, and parents about the benefits of being part of the MAT.
Be sure to include:
- Diverse Perspectives - Gather testimonials from a range of stakeholders – children and young people, teachers, parents, and community members from across your academies.
- Stories of Personal Impact - Encourage individuals to share personal stories of how the MAT has positively influenced their education or professional life, centrally and across your schools.
News and Updates
Regularly update the school's news section with MAT-related news. This could include achievements of other schools within the trust, joint events, or changes in the MAT's leadership. Keeping the school community informed is essential.
Regular updates could include:
- MAT Achievements and Milestones - Share the successes, achievements and shared values of different academies within the Trust, creating a sense of shared pride and accomplishment.
- Upcoming Events and Changes - Keep the community informed about upcoming events, policy changes, or leadership transitions within the Trust.
The MAT's Strategic Goals
Outline the strategic goals of the Trust and how the individual school contributes to achieving these goals. Clarifying the MAT's strategic goals helps in aligning the school's objectives with those of the Trust.
This section can include:
- Long-Term Vision - Outline the long-term strategic objectives of the Trust and how they align with educational excellence and community engagement across your network of schools.
- School’s Role in Achieving These Goals - Explain how the individual school contributes towards these broader goals, highlighting specific programs or initiatives.
Resources and Support
Detail the additional resources and support that the academy receives as a result of being part of the Trust. This could include professional development for staff, additional funding, or access to specialised facilities in your schools.
This could include:
- Enhanced Educational Resources - Discuss any special educational tools, resources, or programs that have been made available through the Trust. Speak to resources for disadvantaged pupils, special educational needs and their effectiveness in your schools.
- Professional Development Opportunities - Highlight opportunities for staff development and training that are a result of being part of the Trust.
Include a frequently asked questions (FAQ) section that addresses common queries about the MAT and the school's relationship with it. This can help in clarifying any misconceptions.
Include questions like:
- "How does being part of a Trust benefit my child's education?"
- "How does the Trust influence school decision-making?"
- "What are the opportunities for parental involvement within the Trust?"
- How does the Trust support transition from Primary to Secondary School?
Provide clear contact information for the MAT's central office, so stakeholders can reach out directly with any MAT-specific queries.
- Direct Contact Details for the MAT's Central Office: Include email addresses, phone numbers, and physical addresses for all schools (this information is required as part of compliance with the education act.
- Links to Social Media: If the MAT has a social media presence, include these links for more dynamic engagement. Also, include these for each of your academies.
Ensure that any financial or governance documents related to the MAT are easily accessible, promoting transparency, accountability and trust. Being transparent builds trust.
- Access to Key Documents: Provide easy access to governance, financial, and policy documents related to the MAT and your schools.
- Clear Reporting: Regularly publish reports on MAT’s activities, financial status, and governance decisions and information on trustees.
Showcase any MAT-wide events or training sessions, emphasising the collaborative nature of the trust across your schools. An events calendar promotes the MAT's communal activities.
It could include:
- MAT-Wide Events and Training: Highlight events, workshops, and training sessions that are open to the entire MAT community.
- Interactive Calendar Feature: Implement an interactive calendar on the website where users can easily view and get details about upcoming events.
Links to All Your Schools
Fostering a sense of community within the MAT is important. Provide links to the websites of other schools within the MAT, fostering a sense of community and interconnectedness.
You should include:
- Directory of Academies in the MAT: Provide a list or map showing all the schools within the MAT, with links to their websites.
- Shared Success Stories from Your Academies: Feature stories of achievements or special projects from different schools within the MAT, demonstrating the collaborative spirit.
Allow stakeholders to provide feedback or ask questions about the school's relationship with the MAT. This can help in addressing any concerns and improving communication. Encouraging feedback is essential for improvement and engagement.
- Online Feedback Form: Create a form where stakeholders can submit their questions, concerns, or suggestions regarding the MAT and your academies.
- Regular Surveys: Conduct periodic surveys to gauge stakeholder satisfaction and gather input on potential improvements.
Incorporating these elements into your academy websites not only effectively communicates the benefits and values of being part of Multi Academy Trusts but also fosters a stronger, more engaged, and well-informed school community.
By highlighting the unique strengths and collaborative spirit of the MAT, academies can enhance their appeal to current and prospective stakeholders, demonstrating a commitment to high-quality education and community involvement.
We understand that managing a website that accurately reflects the ethos, achievements, and aspirations of your Multi Academy Trust can be a complex task.
If you have any questions, need guidance, or are contemplating new website services for your MAT, we are here to help. Our team specializes in creating bespoke digital solutions tailored to the unique needs of educational institutions, especially Multi Academy Trusts.
Please feel free to reach out to us for an informal chat or to discuss how we can assist in elevating your online presence to better serve your community.