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Navigating Risk Management in Small Multi-Academy Trusts

Risk management is an integral component of leadership in any Multi-Academy Trust (MAT). The task involves identifying, assessing, and prioritising potential challenges that could hinder the operation or objectives of the trust. While risk management is crucial for trusts of all sizes, it presents unique challenges for smaller MATs that are equipped with lean teams, often comprising just a CEO and an Executive Headteacher. This article will delve into risk management in small MATs, the types of risks they may encounter, the importance of effective risk management, how MATvista can aid in this essential task, and the opportunities to learn more about this subject through a free trial and a series of focused webinars.

A Spectrum of Risks in a MAT's World

In the context of a MAT, risks can take numerous forms:

Operational Risks: These are connected with day-to-day operations. Breakdown of critical systems, IT failures, disruption due to unexpected staff absences – all these fall under operational risks.

Financial Risks: Financial risks relate to anything that could threaten the financial health of the MAT. An over-reliance on specific funding sources, potential budget shortfalls, or unexpected additional costs are just a few examples.

Governance Risks: Governance risks can arise if a MAT fails to comply with statutory requirements, leading to potential legal or reputational damages.

Reputational Risks: This category includes anything that could potentially harm the trust's reputation. Negative publicity, scandal, or community backlash – these can significantly impact a trust's standing in the community it serves.

Strategic Risks: These risks threaten the trust's ability to achieve its strategic goals. They may arise from unsuccessful implementation of strategic plans, changes in the education sector, or changes in government policy.

External Risks: These risks are associated with changes in the external environment, such as demographic shifts or policy changes, over which the trust has no control.

The Imperative of Risk Management

Effective risk management plays a vital role in the successful operation of a MAT, offering the following benefits:

Anticipating Threats: An effective risk management process allows MATs to identify potential risks early on. This early detection provides time to craft strategies to mitigate their impact.

Protecting Resources: By managing risks effectively, MATs ensure their resources – both human and financial – are not unexpectedly depleted by unforeseen challenges.

Ensuring Compliance: Identifying and addressing governance-related risks helps MATs stay ahead of the curve and remain compliant with all statutory requirements.

Maintaining Trust: By proactively managing potential risks, trusts can maintain the confidence of all stakeholders, including staff, students, parents, and the broader community.

Supporting Strategic Goals: Risk management supports the MAT's strategic objectives by preventing or reducing the impact of anything that could potentially derail them.

Risk Management with MATvista:

Risk management, despite its importance, can be complex and challenging, particularly for the leaders of a small MAT. Thankfully, tools like MATvista can help to reduce the complexity significantly.

MATvista uses the Abacus Model to make risk management more comprehensible and manageable. Each risk is visually represented as a bead on an abacus. By sliding the beads, the current status of each risk can be depicted. Contributing factors can be identified, and relevant action plans can be developed to mitigate these risks.

With this visual representation, MAT leaders can track progress over time and measure the effectiveness of their mitigation strategies. In this way, MATvista simplifies risk management by providing a clear, visual, and intuitive platform for identifying risks, implementing risk management strategies, and monitoring their efficacy.

More opportunities to understand MATvista: Free Trial and Webinars

Recognising the critical need for leaders to fully comprehend how MATvista can revolutionise risk management, we are offering a free trial. During this period, you get complete access to all its features, so you can better understand how it simplifies risk management. Experience the visual representation of risks, identify contributing factors, and develop and monitor action plans for risk mitigation.

To reinforce your understanding and provide further insights into MATvista and risk management, we also host a series of webinars. These sessions are designed specifically with MAT leaders in mind, focusing on critical areas of risk management, including risk assessment registers and mitigation strategies. Our webinars offer in-depth discussions, practical insights and actionable strategies that can be immediately implemented in your MAT.

If a live webinar doesn't fit into your schedule, don't worry. We offer video recordings of these webinars, which you can request and watch at your convenience. This ensures you never miss out on valuable insights and advice on managing risk, even with a busy schedule.

In conclusion, risk management is a crucial part of leading a successful and sustainable MAT. While it might present unique challenges to small MATs, intuitive tools like MATvista and informative resources like expert-led webinars can simplify the process. By proactively identifying potential challenges, implementing targeted plans, and utilising the right tools and resources, MAT leaders can navigate the complex landscape of risk management and ensure their trust's resilience and success.


We've found the best way to discuss MATvista is using Zoom, Teams or GoogleMeet. We can talk about your requirements and we’ll share our screen to show you how it's tailored to your trust.

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