How to Develop Seamless Communication in Multi Academy Trusts

By Vicky Hart - 30 Oct, 2018
4 Minutes Read

Developing good communication in MATS is vital

As Sam Henson, Director of Policy and Information at the National Governance Association pointed out in a recent opinion piece for Schools Week, it is vital to develop good communication between MAT trustees and local academy committees. This however, as the article indicates, is no easy task. MATs frequently have a diverse set of institutions on multiple sites dispersed across a local authority, wider region and in some cases nationally.


Online and app MAT communication is on the up

Online communication is key to overcoming these issues and is a rapid growth area in the MAT ecosystem. It provides a variety of different routes for both communication and collaboration in a timely and effective manner. The Schools Week article identifies the use of online communication as key, and specifically mentions three areas in use by trusts, a well-designed website, the use of social media and intranets. Whilst these are three significant areas MATs are also rapidly moving to apps for communication and the benefits of these must not be ignored from any communication strategy. The integration of a variety of communication systems is key to an effective and efficient online strategy.


What tools can MATs use to communicate and collaborate?

Therefore, at New Era we have invested heavily in developing a range of communication and collaboration tools that integrate simply to meet the varying needs of MATs. Our website offering is used by a wide-range of MATs. Simple to manage websites that can be quickly updated locally is critical to timely communication. A single top-level site with individual local sites can be rapidly developed to meet the needs of different trusts. This gives a coherent feel to the trusts schools but enables for divergence where required or encouraged.


The use of apps can revolutionalise a MATs communications strategy

Different schools, geographical locations and school processes can make it challenging to manage both parent and internal staff communications effectively.

Nowadays people like news and information to be delivered to them rather than searching for it. This is why there has been a rapid growth in both text and app forms of communication. Text, traditionally used for communication with parents is now rapidly being replaced by apps due to the significant reduction in costs and far greater flexibility they offer.


Your website and outward communication solution should be aligned

Our School Ping app has been incredibly well-received. The ability for it to be used to communicate across a MAT is part of its success with private messages being able to be sent to a wide variety of groups with ease despite location. The integration however with a school website is also central to its success. Any news item can be shared widely not only through the app but directly on the website at the tick of a box- extending the audience for communication with a single point of entry.


Why you should use apps for feedback

The app with its ability to use forms for feedback is an excellent way for MATs to seek feedback from a variety of audiences including trustees, academy committees, senior leadership teams, teachers and parents. However, for more informed and deeper discussions we provide other online tools that are used well to support effective communication including online storage supported by forum and email. These allow for themes to be developed over time with greater levels of interaction and discussion.

Such online communication systems can help develop relationships, communication and collaboration essential to the effectiveness of MATs. They supplement the personal contact rather than replace it and enable visits and meetings to be more productive and effective. An informed body is a more effective one.

For more information about how we help MATs to achieve seamless communication between them and their schools, contact us.

Author: Vicky Hart

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