Improving Communities

Keeping rural schools part of the community

Staffordshire University Academies Trust

Staffordshire University Academies Trust (SUAT), a nationally recognised multi-academy trust (MAT), became a client of Anthony Collins Solicitors in 2015 when the Trust comprised just one secondary school and three primary schools. CEO, Keith Hollins, was a previous happy client of the firm when he was an Executive Headteacher, and so engaged with us in his new position at SUAT.

On our five-year journey with them, SUAT now has one secondary school and nineteen primary schools in the MAT. Some of the primary schools incorporated are small, rural schools, who, without joining a MAT, could have closed. The large MAT provides broader support and protection for them, meaning the work we’ve done has helped to keep education alive in rural areas. Schools are often an important hub for the community in these areas, especially with pubs, post offices and churches closing down.

Benefits of the MAT

The MAT status has allowed the schools to share best practice and improve standards. There is now an ongoing Continuing Professional Development programme in place for staff, which has grown to cover thirteen subjects this year and sixteen next year, set to include support and training for special educational needs co-ordinators.

Not only have we provided the conversion advice, but we’ve also given broader support to the Trust on more general issues such as child protection and HR issues. We’ve thus acted as a sounding board during the Trust’s growth phase and given central advice for recruitment and staffing issues.

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