Academy Governance Workshop

16 March 2018 | 8:30am–12:15pm | ICSA, Saffron House, London


Multi-academy trust (MAT) expansion can be a contentious issue. Ofsted has raised concerns that expanding too quickly can lead to poor performance in schools, while the Department for Education has put nearly 60 academy chains onto a pause list in order to stop their growth. Despite this, a solution must be found to tackle ongoing concerns around expansion in the near future. Mergers could be a real solution but with so much to take into consideration, the process can seem daunting.

This ICSA workshop puts MAT expansion under the microscope focussing on how you can effectively manage growth whilst maintaining good governance. Taking some of the trickier elements, our expert speakers will provide guidance on due diligence, governance structures and culture as well as explore transferable learning from the corporate sector.


8.30 Registration

Chair’s opening remarks

Caraline Johnson, Head of Education, Bates Wells Braithwaite


Planning a good due diligence programme

Whether you are creating a MAT together with another single academy trust or you are creating the MAT on your own, it’s essential to take an in depth look at the schools you are merging with. Doing your homework will give you the knowledge and confidence to get what you want from the deal. In this session, delegates will gain insight on what an effective due diligence programme looks like and devise a handy checklist to ensure you’ve got everything covered.

Andrew Guest, Academy Specialist, Cambridge Education, Founding Chief Executive, Diocese of Salisbury Academy Trust and Group Strategic Development Manager, Mott MacDonald


Maintaining a robust governance structure

As MATs continue to grow, governance structures need to evolve. The governance structure must be clear to help schools work together better, ensure smooth delivery of the strategic vision and make sure everyone feels adequately supported. Here we explore various governance structures that delegates can adapt and apply to their own MATs.

Terry Parkin, CEO, King’s Group Academies



Participants in mergers are only human and thus driven by their shared organisational culture and individual personalities. It’s important not to underestimate how broad and far reaching cultural influences can be in disrupting and delaying discussions. In this session, we discuss the value of maintaining transparency with staff and what this means for the existing school culture and a smooth transition.

Katie Paxton-Doggett, Company Secretary, Ridgeway Education Trust and Vice Chair, National Governance Association

Naureen Khalid, Chair of Governors, Newstead Wood School

10.45 Networking tea and coffee break

Considering your stakeholders

Sitting at the heart of communities, academy schools generate vast and varied interest from a wide pool of stakeholders, and good relations with members and stakeholders alike are an important part of success. Here, we reflect upon the value of a good communications plan in balancing the needs and interests of both internal and external stakeholders.

Anna Machin, Governance & Compliance Manager, Ark

Emma Perkin, Lead Consultant, The Constant Group


Learning from the corporate sector

Research from Harvard Business School claims that the failure rate of corporate mergers and acquisitions to deliver real value is somewhere between 70% and 90%. The reasons why these ventures fail to live up to expectations are many and varied. In this session we focus on transferable learning from the corporate sector to see how MATs can use their board to maximise value potential before and after the merger.

Richard Lane, Partner, Farrer & Co


Chair’s closing remarks and workshop close

*This is a draft programme and may be subject to change

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