As a trust, we used the questions from the DfE MAT Development programme guidance (the questions on school improvement are based on the assurance framework) to develop our own self-assessment framework, which we have then used as part of a formal peer review process with two other local trusts.
The peer review process involved each trust undertaking their own self review against the questions first, then sharing their results with each other, and then using this to identify challenge questions they wanted to ask each other as part of peer review visits to each trust. The visits focused on school improvement, but also included a focus on governance and finance and included CEOs, trustees and trust business managers.
Following the peer review visits, the trusts identified shared priorities they wanted to work on together and built a joint action plan across all three trusts for taking forward this work; ‘it gave us a real purpose to working together’ (CEO). They also shared back their learning with the wider MAT network. Now in the third year of using it, the CEO reflected ‘as we’ve used it, there are some questions which have become less important and which we skip over, and we have started to focus on others more’. The big benefit has been ‘it starts to create a commonality in the conversation across the trusts between trustees and broader staff’ (CEO).
This case study was taken from the guidance on the MAT Assurance Framework.