Learn more about SPP through our "Intro to SPP" sessions - book for 26 April now! Find out more and book
What we do

MAT Partnership Programme

Multi-academy trusts learning from each other and developing together

Based on the robust framework of our Schools Partnership Programme, the MAT Partnership Programme brings MATs together to support and learn from each other through the power of facilitated, strategic peer review. Drawing on the knowledge and expertise we've developed through working with hundreds of school partnerships across the country, we offer an evidence-informed approach to collaboration between MATs, enabling them to learn, develop and improve together.

Many schools involved with SPP are members of multi-academy trusts, which are now such an integral part of the education system in England. This being so, our MAT Partnership Programme forms an important part of our vision to co-create a sustainable, self-improving, school-led system, with lateral accountability, collaboration and peer review at its heart.

The MAT Partnership Programme and the Schools Partnership Programme are complementary. They offer compatible peer review processes for each level of a trust. If, as a trust, you have previously applied the SPP framework within your organisation, you may choose to adopt the MAT Partnership Programme to offer benchmarking beyond your organisation, and vice versa.


How it works

The programme is built on the principle of collaborative system-led improvement: MAT leaders working with MAT leaders to build capacity and capability across all schools.

When a trust joins the MAT Partnership Programme, they become part of a professional community of MAT leaders supported by us, working and learning together.

We bring MATs together to establish peer review partnerships and in pairs, MATs work through the peer review process, offering challenge and support to each other.

If you are a single Trust, we will help you broker a partnership with another single Trust. Trusts can also choose to join with an existing MAT partner to mature their relationship and add rigour and trust-based accountability.

The whole process can take anything up to 12 weeks and is possible to accomplish in one term. Cost: £4,500 + VAT per MAT.


The three stages, each with distinct benefits:


Trusts that are part of the MAT Partnership Programme will:

+ Be matched with another MAT to form a peer review partnership if they come to us without a partner.

+ Be assigned an expert facilitator to support them in the planning and delivery of powerful and meaningful peer review.

+ Benefit from our MAT performance framework to enable comprehensive self and peer review.

+ Gain access to a wealth of online tools and resources throughout their peer review journey.

+ Receive training in professional peer review to strengthen review and evaluation skills within their senior teams.


Building on the peer review

Peer review is at its most effective when the insights it generates are used to inform future improvement planning.

A vital part of our core school-led programme are designated “Improvement Champions” who facilitate workshops exploring the outputs of peer review and shape action plans. Improvement Champions are teachers and middle-leaders who undergo training with our expert associates to develop the skills needed for the role.

By creating Improvement Champions, schools ensure that a colleague with the right skills are responsible for ensuring the benefits of peer review are fully realised.

Trusts will have different structures and processes for driving improvement. But the principle remains the same, and our Improvement Champion training is a tried and tested approach for building the capacity for improvement. As part of the MAT Partnership Programme, we have developed an adapted version of the training available to trust staff.


Webinar recording: MAT Partnership Programme launch

Learning, developing and improving together. 

Watch the recording and view the slides from our webinar on 8 June 2021.

MAT-to-MAT collaboration

Facilitated peer review between the leadership teams of two multi-academy trusts has led to cultural change, action and real improvement at both trust and school level.

Listen to Helen Rowland (CEO of Focus-Trust) and Andy Yarrow (CEO of Anthem Trust) reflect with SPP Associate Jane Creasy on their joint, values-led, collaborative approach to peer review using the SPP model and principles adapted and facilitated to support MAT-to MAT-collaboration. Professional honesty and constructive, challenging conversations with trusted peers, based on a rigorous evidence-informed framework, have been key to driving improvement across both trusts.

Read transcript.


Our MPP Associates

Jane Creasy and Maggie Farrar serve as our MPP Associates.

Both are experienced in working with MAT leadership teams and governance, and have been key in developing the Schools Partnership Programme principles and practices of peer review.

Jane Creasy

Formerly a Director at the UK National College for School Leadership and successful headteacher, Jane has experience of educational and public sector leadership at local and national level. 

She is currently working with a group of multi-academy trust CEOs as they grapple with current complexities, and with leaders of four municipalities in Norway as they seek to implement a new national curriculum that focuses on 21st century skills.

Maggie Farrar

Having previously worked with the National College for School Leadership for over 10 years, including a period as Interim Chief Executive, Maggie has been working on cluster-based school improvement and the development of peer review in England and internationally for a number of years and is a passionate advocate for the power and potential of great teachers and great leaders to work together to transform a whole system.

We're delighted to be working with Forum Strategy as a Strategic Advisor on the MAT Partnership Programme.

Forum Strategy supports chief executives and executive leaders to thrive in their roles through high quality professional development, consultancy and thought-leadership. 

They run a national Trust Leaders network for CEOs, a national network for COOs, and the Being The CEO programme. Their work and thinking has regularly featured in the education press and they have worked with a range of organisations, including Ofsted and the National Governance Association, to inform system thinking.”


Watch Forum Strategy CEO Michael Pain in this first of a series of video blogs where we'll be following Jayne Foster (CEO Ethos Academy Trust) and Ann Davey (CEO Pathfinder Schools Trust) along their MAT-to-MAT peer review journey.

What next?

Get in touch with our team to discuss how you can get involved in the MAT Partnership Programme.

Contact us