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ACADEMIES REGIONAL DELIVERY GROUP: SOUTH EAST AND SOUTH LONDON (SESL)

MAT IMPROVEMENT CAPACITY FRAMEWORK

This pilot tool has been designed to help Multi-Academy Trusts (MATs) understand their current capacity to support and
drive school improvement – so that they can build and strengthen their current capacity and potentially to grow their capacity
to support more schools. This SESL version has been adapted from a version that was developed in the South-West RSC
area.

It uses a framework which breaks down MAT improvement capacity into fourteen elements, under six main headings (as
shown below). These are based on research about what works in MATs and similar networks of schools internationally. The
framework does not assume that there is one best way to support and drive school improvement as a MAT; instead, it
isolates the questions, issues and practices that should help enable all kinds of MAT to become more effective in supporting
their schools to improve. • Clarity of Trust
Structures
Elements of the MAT Improvement Capacity Framework: • Capability to
Review and
Refresh

1. Vision, 2. People and 3. Teaching and 4. Curriculum 5. Quality 6. Leadership


Culture and Partners Learning and Assessment Assurance and and Governance
Ethos Accountability
• Building Capacity for • Approach to • Aligned Curriculum • Knowing Schools • Clarity of Trust
• Clarity of Purpose Improvement Pedagogy Quantitatively Structures
• Intentional Use of
• Understanding of • Recruiting, • Leadership of Assessment • Knowing Schools • Capability to Review
Needs Developing and Teaching Qualitatively and Refresh
Retaining Talent
• Leading a Culture of • Evidence-based
Improvement Professional
Learning
ACADEMIES REGIONAL DELIVERY GROUP: SOUTH EAST AND SOUTH LONDON (SESL)

MAT IMPROVEMENT CAPACITY FRAMEWORK


How to use the tool

For each of the fourteen elements of improvement capacity, the rubric includes guiding questions to consider about the
improvement capacity in your MAT.

Use the questions to rate your MAT against each element along a four-point scale:

Red (weak capacity) Amber Red Amber Green Green (strong capacity)
• Clarity of Trust
The right-hand column of the rubric has space for you to mark your rating and make some brief notes about your
Structures
rationale for choosing that rating.
• Capability to
Review and
There is no right or wrong way to use this tool but you might find the process on the following page helpful:
Refresh
ACADEMIES REGIONAL DELIVERY GROUP: SOUTH EAST AND SOUTH LONDON (SESL)

MAT IMPROVEMENT CAPACITY FRAMEWORK


Stage 1 Stage 2 Stage 3 Stage 4 Stage 5
Explanation and Assessment by Reality testing with Identifying areas for Reporting to board
ownership MAT executive leaders at all levels improvement and wider
team communication
• This offers the • You might want
• Briefing to • This could be opportunity to to use a heat • Report to the
leaders and done in a engage with map to help you Board
board to secure number of ways leaders of do this - see
buy-in including through teaching and below
an externally learning at • Explain the
outcome to
• Communication facilitated classroom,
• The CEO and leaders and staff
across the trust session subject, phase or
school level of executive team across the MAT
the MAT agree an action
• It might include plan with • Clarity
prior self- • Share
of Trust
the
milestones and findings with
reflection and success Structures
consideration of other MATs
measures for
what evidence working on the • Capability to
supports priority areas
judgements Review and
Refresh

Remember: This tool is diagnostic, not evaluative or judgemental. The aim is to identify your MAT’s most significant areas of
strength and challenge, so that you can build your capacity for improvement. A “Green” rating does not mean that an element is
currently perfect, just that it is an area of strength upon which to build. Likewise, a “Red” rating does not imply failure or
underperformance, it simply highlights an area where capacity building should be a priority.
ACADEMIES REGIONAL DELIVERY GROUP: SOUTH EAST AND SOUTH LONDON (SESL)
HEAT MAP TO IDENTIFY PRIORITY AREAS FOR
DEVELOPMENT
Vision, Culture & People and Teaching and Curriculum and Quality Assurance Leadership and
Ethos Partners Learning Assessment and Accountability Governance

Clarity of Approach to
Purpose Building
Pedagogy Aligned Knowing Schools Clarity of Trust
Capacity for
Curriculum Quantitatively Structures
Improvement

Understanding Leadership of
of Needs Teaching

Recruiting, Knowing
Capability to
Developing and Evidence- Intentional Use of Schools
Leading a Review and
Retaining Talent based Assessment Qualitatively
Culture of Refresh
Professional
Improvement
Learning

The outcomes from the self-assessment can be captured in a ‘heat map’ like the one shown above so that the priority areas
where most capacity building work may be needed can be easily identified from the self-assessment. The boxes above can be
edited to capture judgements for your MAT along the four point scale.

Remember: The purpose of the tool is diagnostic, not judgmental. Therefore, the areas that are judged green or amber green
may still have areas for improvement. Areas judged as amber red or red however, are likely to have the most important priorities
where capacity needs to be built most urgently.
ACADEMIES REGIONAL DELIVERY GROUP: SOUTH EAST AND SOUTH LONDON (SESL)

MAT IMPROVEMENT CAPACITY FRAMEWORK

1. Vision, 2. People and 3. Teaching 4. Curriculum 5. Quality 6. Leadership


Culture and Partners and Learning and Assurance and and
Ethos Assessment Accountability Governance

• Clarity of Purpose • Building Capacity • Approach to • Aligned • Knowing Schools • Clarity of Trust
for Improvement Pedagogy Curriculum Quantitatively Structures
• Understanding of
Needs • Recruiting, • Leadership of • Intentional Use of • Knowing Schools • Capability to
Developing and Teaching Assessment Qualitatively Review and
• Leading a Culture Retaining Talent Refresh
of Improvement • Evidence-based
Professional
Learning
To Consider Evidence G A R
If evidence is in a different location, please provide a link
1. Vision, Culture and Ethos
Clarity of Purpose
i. Does the MAT have a clear vision of what excellence in
educational provision looks like in the classroom on a day-to-day
basis, in terms of planning, assessment, teaching and learning?

ii. Does the MAT’s School Improvement Model clearly set out the
process for sharing the vision and linking the vision to a clear
delivery strategy for its implementation?

iii. Does the School Improvement Model link with the MAT’s scheme
of delegation in terms of individual schools’ and groups of schools
responsibilities for strategic delivery of improvement?

iv. How does the MAT ensure that staff, directors and Trustees
clearly understand and actively promote the philosophical basis
for the shared vision?

Understanding of Needs
i. Is there a robust and shared key data collection system that
informs MAT leadership of the full range of needs of pupils in their
schools i.e. protected characteristic groups?

ii. Does the MAT leadership use this data to require and ensure a
differentiated and prioritised approach to school improvement
(support and challenge) for schools at different stages in their
journey?

iii. What are the MATS procedures for ensuring that new joiners are
involved in rigorous induction and review processes to ensure
swift evaluation of actual or potential need?
To Consider Evidence G A R
If evidence is in a different location, please provide a link
1. Vision, Culture and Ethos
Leading a Culture of Improvement
i. How does the MAT’s school improvement model embed a
consistent, vision-linked approach to excellence that draws on the
diverse talents, skills and creativity within individual schools for a
truly collaborative system of improvement?

ii. What is the MAT’s strategy for encouraging and scaling up the
sharing of innovative research-based best practice?
To Consider Evidence G A R
If evidence is in a different location, please provide a link
2. People and Partners
Building Capacity for Improvement
i. Does the MAT have a plan for the strategic location of increased
capacity for school improvement currently and in the future?

ii. How are the best school improvement leaders used across the
MAT both in/across phases and subject areas?

iii. How are partnerships or networks used to support the school


improvement leaders and how is the impact of both internal and
external support evaluated?

Recruiting, Developing and Retaining Talent


i. Is there a shared policy relating to recruitment and retention
across the MAT?

ii. To what extent is the MAT involved in Initial Teacher Training


and is this a cohesive strategy that shows impact on
recruitment?

iii. Does the MAT have a strategic overview relating to career


development and CPD and what are the processes that ensure
all staff are aware of how to take advantage of the professional
opportunities available to them?
To Consider Evidence G A R
If evidence is in a different location, please provide a link
3. Teaching and Learning
Approach to Pedagogy
i. How does the MAT ensure that best practice in teaching and
learning is shared across is schools?

ii. How does the MAT identify and use subject/phase experts for the
benefit of all?

iii. Does the MAT have a shared Behaviour Policy that includes a
range of strategies for diverse settings?

iv. How does the MAT facilitate the implementation of proven


successful leadership strategies related to empirical evidence?

Leadership of Teaching
i. Is there a shared strategy across the MAT that ensures teaching
and learning leaders have time to plan for, and evaluate, their
effectiveness on improving learning through the development of
high quality systems and procedures?

ii. What professional development training is there across the MAT


for the career progression of Middle and Senior Leaders so that
the capacity across the MAT for improvement is sustained and
extended?
To Consider Evidence G A R
If evidence is in a different location, please provide a link
3. Teaching and Learning

Evidence-Based Professional Learning


i. Does the MAT have a model for professional learning and
development that encompasses coaching, classroom practice and
engagement in research?

ii. How is observation, target-setting and review employed in the


schools across the MAT as a tool in the achieving of MAT
priorities?

iii. How do the MAT leaders ensure there is a culture of purposeful


learning across all schools?
To Consider Evidence G A R
If evidence is in a different location, please provide a link
4. Curriculum and Assessment
Aligned Curriculum
i. To what extent does the MAT facilitate and expect shared
planning and assessment systems?

ii. What are the opportunities for moderating the quality of work
and achievement/outcomes of pupils across the MAT?

iii. Is the MATs vision relating to prescription/delegation of


elements of the curriculum understood and how is this
monitored?

Intentional Use of Assessment


i. Is there shared understanding across the MAT relating to the
purposes, impact and usefulness of different types of
assessment?

ii. Is there agreed use of standardised assessments on a common


cycle?

iii. Does the MAT systematically ensure that systems are evaluated
for their merits in relation to pupil outcomes and teacher well-
being?
To Consider Evidence G A R
If evidence is in a different location, please provide a link
5. Quality Assurance and Accountability
Knowing Schools Quantitatively
i. Does the MAT have a well developed approach to the use of
data and Key Performance Indicators which is embedded as
routine in all schools?
ii. Have the MATs data cycles been carefully structured to ensure
that information is collected in a timely enough manner to
enable effective quality assurance and intervention?
iii. Is performance information shared openly across the MAT? Are
conversations between MAT and school leaders open and
effective?
iv. Do MAT leaders have an integrated picture of performance,
pulling together data on progress, attainment, wellbeing,
exclusions and other key metrics/qualitative information?

Knowing Schools Qualitatively


i. Do MAT and cluster leaders meet with school leaders to review
progress and is there a consistent agenda for these meetings?

ii. Are there peer review models in use across the MAT for
identifying need and support? Does this include parental and
pupil input?

iii. Do MAT and school leaders have regular learning walks, book
inspections etc., across the MAT to triangulate standards and
the quality of school life?
To Consider Evidence G A R
If evidence is in a different location, please provide a link
6. Leadership and Governance
Clarity of Trust Structures
i. Are the documents of association (i.e. schemes of delegation,
terms of reference, articles of association) clear about key
responsibilities and accountabilities?

ii. Does this work in practice?

iii. Does the MAT have the right skills in place at Governance and
at Board level?

Capability to Review and Refresh


i. Are the MAT’s Governance structures reviewed regularly as fit
for purpose and communicated to all stakeholders?

ii. Does the development of the MAT’s Governance model ensure


that there is the right level of succession planning, training and
future proofing to changes to the MAT?