At the time of writing, there are 775 multi-academy trusts with 2 to 5 schools and a further 1502 single academy trusts. However several articles cite that a MAT only becomes financially successful and sustainable when it has 12 to 20 schools, or around 5000 students.
Regardless of the specific numbers, MAT CEO’s will understand the importance of growth. Not least because since 2013 the government has invested £126 million into the Trust Capacity Fund. And Although things have changed since the 2017 publication of Education Excellence Everywhere which proposed every school in England to become an academy by 2020, academisation and the Multi-Academy Trust system is here to stay. Besides, because of the 2019 election results, it looks like current policy surrounding the growth of school trusts is only likely to accelerate.
Given all of this, it’s increasingly important that MAT leaders and CEO’s are able to think and act strategically when it comes to sustainable growth.
Where does effective communications come into this?
It’s been suggested that the number of central teams in MATs who have a good understanding of the importance of marketing and communications is in a minority. But effective communication is often one of the key steps to successfully recruiting new schools into your MAT.
Here’s 3 ways to make sure you’re marketing your MAT the right way…
In a recent blog post, we wrote about the importance of having a communications ecosystem. In short, this means using all of your communication channels (social media, website and printed or traditional media to name a few) to allow people to access information across a number of media touchpoints. The key is consistent messaging – whether you’re speaking to students, staff, parents or prospective schools.
- Use your website as a prospectus – not just for students, parents and staff but also for schools. Position your website as a resource for new schools to find out information about your multi-academy trust. This will most likely mean dedicating a section of your website for the purpose of providing relevant information.
- Your website should have an easily navigated route to individual school websites within your trust – and vice versa. There are many factors that school leaders will consider when deciding whether to join your MAT, but shared ethos and values will most likely be one of them. This is something a school leader will be able to gather from individual school websites, so inter-connection is key.
We know that marketing and communications may not be the whole answer to ensuring growth, but having an effective website and a successful comms and marketing strategy will allow you to create consistent messaging and easily accessible information.
And these are both key factors to help make the decision process for a prospective school easier.