Community MATs Network

Community MATs is a network developed by the National Governance Association to give those involved with governing multi academy trusts (MATs) the opportunity to share their experiences and practice with others. 


We were asked to start the network by our members, who felt there wasn't an easy way to meet and discuss the issues they faced when setting up and governing a MAT. We want to facilitate that learning and collaboration so that you are better able to govern and improve the education of pupils.

What do we mean by Community MATs?

They’re local

A lot of the evidence about the benefits of governing groups of schools comes from federations. Federations tend to be made up of smaller groups of schools (the larger federations comprise of five or six schools) relatively local to one another. They can engage in beneficial activities such as sharing of staff and CPD opportunities. Community MATs are close enough to each other to offer these forms of collaboration. So how local are you schools? Are they within an hour's travel of each other?

NGA members helped choose the name ‘Community MATs’ when we told them about the aims of the campaign. Thanks to everyone who took part!

They’re schools-led

We have purposefully referred to schools in the plural here to emphasise that it’s not about a high performing school ‘taking over’ those that surround it. Instead, the best Community MATs are about genuine collaboration between multiple schools.

We’re not advocating rotating leadership, where headteachers take it in turns to lead the MAT - a so called ‘flat MAT’. This model is no longer being accepted by the Department for Education. See our joint guidance on forming and joining a MAT.

They’re community centred

One concern that governors and trustees have shared with us is that their school might become dislocated from their local community as more and more schools join their MAT.

There’s a growing body of good practice by smaller MATs that are strongly rooted in the communities they serve. Our Community MATs campaign will capture and share this practice. Join our new network

Join the network

Due to popular demand we’re are launching a new network for trustees and clerks of MATs. 

The next network meeting will be on Friday 17 November in Birmingham: Book a place now!

Don't wait for a meeting to get involved: Join the network on LinkedIn

Community MAT Champions

Community MAT Champions are chairs or vice chairs of trustee boards ready and willing to share their experience of being part of a MAT. If you are interested in forming or joining a MAT, or are currently governing a MAT and would like to discuss the experience with someone else, get in touch by emailing Fay Holland.

What else are we doing?

NGA has been working extensively with MATs and gathered a rich body of information and intelligence from different sources including:

Did you know our GOLDline advisers can help you with any aspect of your governance, including supporting you in developing your scheme of delegation? 

  • NGA/Academy Ambassadors MAT roundtable event – NGA gathered representatives from 35 MATs earlier this year to discuss experiences of MAT governance and share practice
  • Discussion at our NGA conferences and regional meetings
  • As members of the Department for Education Advisory Group on Governance (AGOG) we can extend your voice to relevent ministers   
  • Much more, including dedicated academy pages in Governing Matters magazine
What we’re not doing

The NGA supports all state funded schools: local authority maintained schools, academies, free schools and university technical colleges. We’re not of the view that any one school structure is better than another in bringing about school improvement, but we do think that formal partnerships between schools can be extremely valuable in improving outcomes for pupils, as well as offering increased opportunities for staff. If you’re an LA maintained school and want to know more about our work to support Federations, visit our Federation First campaign page.

Training and Consultancy

When it comes to MAT governance NGA are pioneerers. We provide external reviews of governance bespoke for MATs. In fact, we are the biggest provider of MAT ERGs. We also offer support for MAT trust boards and the governing boards of schools considering a Community MAT option. Get in touch!