MAT chiefs and maintained heads to unite in ‘new voice’

Pandemic helps provide impetus for new 'collective' promoting collaboration between maintained schools and academies rather than competition

new school leaders group

A group of more than a thousand schools is being set up to add a new voice to the education sector.

The Educational Leadership Collective will include chief executives of some of the country’s largest multi-academy trusts as well as academy headteachers and those from the maintained sector.

That wide membership is described as representing “a key difference” to two of the main current groups representing MATs: The Queen Street Group and the Confederation of School Trusts (CST).


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The collective is being set up in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic amid a perceived need for maintained schools and trusts to collaborate more rather compete, said Dan Morrow, a MAT chief executive who is among those setting up the group.

“We emerged from discussions between academy leaders but are not exclusive to the sector," said Mr Morrow, the CEO of the Woodland Academy Trust in Kent.

"The system is made up of a multitude of fragmented structures and this seeks to be a uniting voice; not a representation of specific interests. This therefore represents a key difference between those two groups [Queen Street Group and CST].”

Mr Morrow said there had been interest from around 200 MAT chief executives and a further 150 headteachers together, representing around 1.000 schools.

MAT CEOs include Sir Steve Lancashire, who runs the largest primary-only academy trust in the country – made up of around 60 schools.  

Heads from the maintained sector include Rae Snape, who is also a national leader of education.

Mr Morrow added: “This unprecedented dose of Covid-19 has given many of us within the education sector a real opportunity to pause, to reflect, to glimpse into another possible world of schools.

"We can imagine an alternative paradigm that shifts its focus from fragmentation and competition, to dream for greater collaboration, connections, creativity and compassion in our schools and a re-imagined narrative for education."

Aims of the group include to create::

  • A space where all members can contribute views, thoughts and challenges.
  • Create a collective voice which has power, influence and traction at the national table.
  • Make significant contribution to a re-imagined, unified education system that places our young people equal with their local, national and international peers.

Among the first concerns to be expressed by the collective are those over DfE guidance which states that schools should not use pupil attendance rotas when they open to more children after 1 June. More than 80 heads and CEOs have said they will ignore the guidance.

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Dave Speck

Dave Speck is a reporter at Tes

Find me on Twitter @Specktator100

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