Skip to content
School structures

Joining or forming a multi academy trust

A guide to help school leaders and governing boards explore their options and understand the process of joining or forming a MAT.

segregated vision of pawns

The Department for Education (DfE) white paper published in March 2022 sets out a vision for all schools to be part of a multi academy trust (MAT) by 2030.

The decision on whether and when to convert to academy status and who to join with remains with the governing board for all good and outstanding schools. The aspirational timescale of 2030 gives boards time to consider carefully whether the government’s vision aligns with theirs.

Our guide to ‘taking the next step’ is intended to help school leaders and governing boards to explore the options available before any formal steps are taken. It is designed to help both parties reach a shared understanding of MAT structures and covers the fundamental processes involved in joining or forming a MAT.

The guide covers:

  • the benefits of being part of a MAT
  • routes to becoming part of a MAT
  • understanding the MAT structure
  • identifying potential organisations to join with
  • conducting due diligence
  • consulting with stakeholders
  • academisation and the process of joining a MAT
  • the process of forming a MAT

School structures

When is academy conversion imposed?

Maintained schools issued with a directive academy order will ultimately join an academy trust. In most cases, the order is triggered by an inadequate Ofsted judgement or being judged less than good twice.

The governing board will need to work with the local authority and regional director to facilitate academisation as soon as possible.

Find out more about directive academy orders
bird's-eye vision of houses

Related content