How do you set up a MAT? And other questions with Kate Turnpenney

At the beginning of the summer, I had the privilege of sitting down with and interviewing Kate Turnpenney, founder and now-retired CEO of Children First, a multi-academy trust based in Enfield. Attention to multi-academy trusts, or MATs, has drastically increased since the Schools White Paper was released earlier this year and stated that all schools will be members of an academy trust by 2030. 2030 is a long way away, but we figured it couldn’t hurt to get a trusted perspective on how academies are established, how they work, and what they can offer. Kate provides that perspective for us on the podcast as she walked me through the journey of Children First, which is now officially the first MAT to join HEP.

What is Children First and how did it come together?

Among some of the questions I asked Kate were: “How did Children First come together?” “What were some of the challenges you faced in forming the trust?” “What are the primary values of your MAT and how does Children First embody them?”

A place-based family of schools

We also talked about the advantages of being in a trust, the role of location in the formation of the trust, and whether or not she sees trusts as the future of education in England.

The advice you need about MATs

For schools thinking about converting to or joining an academy trust, we hope that this is an illuminating listen for you, as Kate details the process she and others went through in order to set up Children First. She also nails down some of the most important requirements and gives advice for starting a MAT.

HEPs role in academisation

HEP realises that the academisation process will happen at different paces for different schools, but our offer of school improvement stays the same, and is as applicable for MATs as it is for any school. Please click on the links to listen on Google, Apple podcasts, or Spotify, and enjoy this episode of HEP Talks!

About the Author:

Luke Kemper

Luke Kemper is Insight and Intelligence Lead at HEP. He recently graduated from the University of Cambridge with an MPhil in Education, Globalisation and International Development. Before that, he worked for seven years as a university lecturer and high school teacher in China and Poland.

HEP Talks Podcast

The voice of Haringey Education Partnership. A weekly briefing on the latest stories in education news, deep diving into developments and interviews with leading voices in Education.

More Insights