MAT Leaders’ Challenges

Our colleagues at Strictly Education carried out a survey of MAT leaders in July 23.

Whilst this survey isn’t specifically related to the world of Management Information Systems it does address issues that affect all schools which is why we thought we’d share some of the key elements.

For example, if the survey reveals that MAT leaders are struggling to access and use data effectively, MIS and data managers can develop training and support resources to help them overcome this challenge.

This could include providing guidance on how to use data to track student progress, identify areas for improvement, and measure the impact of interventions.

Second, MIS and data managers can use the findings of a survey to advocate for the importance of their work. By quantifying the challenges that MAT leaders are facing, MIS and data managers can make a strong case for the need for investment in their services.

For example, if a survey reveals that MAT leaders are spending a significant amount of time on manual data entry and analysis, MIS and data managers can argue for investment in new technology and systems to automate these tasks. This would free up MAT leaders to focus on more strategic priorities, such as improving teaching and learning.

Heather Marchbank – Strictly Education MD said:

“This is the second year we have carried out a detailed survey into the challenges faced by leaders of multi-academy trusts in their various forms. A year on from that first survey, the turbulence affecting the education sector shows no sign of abating. Unpredictability seems to be the status quo at this moment so MAT leaders need to be prepared for uncertainty while marshalling their resources and reserves as efficiently as possible”

They received a total of 102 responses.The majority (68%) came from multi-academy trusts, with 13% from single academy trusts (SATs).

More than a third of respondents were in ‘C-suite’ roles, such as Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and Chief Operating Officer (COO). A number of other roles were also represented, including school business leaders and trustees.

With their kind permission we’ve highlighted some of their key findings that relate to the challenges of school administration.

It’s not surprising that the top the key challenges are staff workload and stress, education funding and staff recruitment / retention.

Financial planning administration and budget management is the joint top area of school leadership which takes up most of our respondents’ time – it was mentioned in 54% of responses.

Administration Time Management

Asked to list the areas of school leadership which took up most of their time, leaders put financial planning, admin and budget management (54%), HR / people related matters (54%), and governance (36%) in their top 3.

Inputting duplicate data – a time consuming management task which is often the result of using more than one MIS or multiple school business systems across a Trust  – was a problem for more than a third of MATs and almost half of SATs.

HR records and people related data were the most common types of data to be duplicated or moved, followed by payroll.

Asked what tools and support would alleviate some of the burden created by these processes, leaders put additional funding, more people resources and capacity, and software that integrated with other school business systems in their top three choices.

About Strictly Education

Working exclusively in the education sector since 2004, we have a longstanding success of working closely with schools and academy trusts to deliver a broad range of high-quality education support services including HR and payroll management, finance and MIS support, school governance, and premises management.

If you’d like to read the whole report, please visit:

MAT Leaders’ Challenges Survey Report 2023 | Strictly Education

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