The Warriner MAT came into being on 1st August 2015 and at that time, consisted of one large secondary school (The Warriner School) and three small rural primary schools, the largest of which has 110 students and the smallest of which has 85, all of which are located in North Oxfordshire.
The MAT has three key functions.
School Improvement: This is the top priority for the MAT. Teachers in all our schools (primary and secondary) visit and learn from each other to improve the quality of teaching for all pupils, which is particularly important in small schools where there is only one teacher of each year group. Our staff are now able to jointly plan lessons, thus reducing their workload and greatly increase their creativity. Teachers come together to ensure we are all marking and assessing in the same way and to the same standard. This not only ensures that pupils from different schools are marked fairly and assessed accurately; it also ensures that there is a smooth transition to the secondary school system.
Most small schools are not able to employ their own specialist support, for example, a SENCo. In our MAT, our schools share that resource, which gives our pupils access to high quality, specialist support that they would not otherwise have had. We coordinate project and topic work. This means our pupils have an opportunity to work with other students from outside of their own school and further develop their teamwork and collaboration skills. This enriches their learning experience.
Central Services: Payroll, invoicing, budgeting, bulk purchasing, contract negotiations, recruitment administration, policies, caretaker/facilities management and HR are all undertaken centrally to remove this burden from Headteachers and their staff. For example, a leaking roof was fixed within twenty four hours which saved the headteacher from having to write an emergency report, obtain quotes and supervise the works. In the first six months of operation we have generated over 5% savings across central contracts and services. This is money that can be ploughed back into our schools to benefit our pupils.
Governance and Leadership: Whilst authority for the running of our schools still resides with the local governing bodies, The MAT provides additional advice and guidance enabling school leaders and governors to focus more of their time upon the quality of teaching and learning and the progress being made by their students.
We are looking to share our vision with other likeminded schools who want to collaborate to ensure that all the children in all our schools experience the very best education. We are looking to recruit the very best teachers into our schools by encouraging them to spend time in any of the MAT schools and though our commitment to providing all our staff with the very best CPD and career opportunities.
Dr Annabel Kay
The Warriner Multi Academy Trust