The economic advantages of a MAT are obvious, however, the disadvantages are often much more individual to the schools involved and the circumstances in which the MAT was formed. There can be a diminished feeling of independence, when becoming part of a MAT, particularly if an under performing school has been obliged to join. Managing this sentiment, particularly when independence from the Local Authority was originally one of the big appeals of becoming an academy, can often be a challenge.
Another potential pitfall is the need to ensure that risks of failure of one school do not affect the fortunes of another school within the MAT. Furthermore, if different categories of school, such as community and voluntary aided schools, are considering converting together they must be confident that a MAT is the right model for all the schools because of the changes in governance that arise.
The MAT model tends to work best when it’s fully embraced by all of the schools, with admin functions shared centrally wherever possible, to ensure maximum cost savings.