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to MAT, or not to MAT?

In partnership with Wilkin Chapman, we are delighted to be hosting our latest education conference, perfect for those who might be deciding whether to convert to an academy, join an existing Multi Academy Trust (MAT) or create your own MAT.

It can seem a daunting prospect, often with more questions than answers, and governing bodies and senior leaders need clear, expert advice from the earliest stages to the final outcome. Our legal and financial experts will deliver practical and interactive sessions, answering your questions and easing your worries. We’ll also be joined by four inspirational guest speakers from the education sector, who will share their journeys and experiences working in MAT settings.

About this event

Who should attend?

This FREE event is suitable for heads, school business managers, senior leaders and governors. We're offering two places for your senior team, and an additional place for a director, governor or trustee.


09.00am | Registration

09.30am | Welcome

09.35am | Speaker sessions

10.35am | Break and bacon buns

11.05am | Speaker sessions

12.05pm | Q&A session

12.30pm | Closing remarks and event close


Forrester Boyd

Carrie Jensen is a partner at Forrester Boyd and has a key specialism in education. She is a nationally recognised academy expert, leading the education and charities sectors sitting on the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) auditors’ forum.

Adam Millson is a qualified associate chartered accountant, with a wide portfolio of clients in both the charity and education sectors. Adam builds good relationships with his clients and has become familiar with their academy needs and long-term succession plans.

They will focus on how to structure MAT finances and will:

  • Explore different options for structuring finance and budgets in a MAT
  • Look at the principles of GAG pooling as an alternative to ‘top-slicing’
  • Discuss the benefits and challenges of pooling reserves and pooling income
  • Review common VAT and tax considerations for growing MATs

Wilkin Chapman

Partners Katie Davies and Jane Eatock, along with solicitor Holly Marris, will dispel the myths, point out the risks, and explain the application process and legal steps for becoming a MAT.

Katie specialises in the educational sector and acts for a variety of schools and academies. She uses the knowledge she has gained as a governor to understand the issues that educational establishments face and the ever-changing academic environment.

Jane works closely with her clients’ senior leadership teams handling major internal employment issues. Her public sector experience has given her an in-depth knowledge of safeguarding issues involving employees in educational settings.

Holly’s work involves a full range of corporate and commercial issues, including company sales and purchases, refinancing, mergers and acquisitions, and company reorganisations. She has a great depth of experience in the education sector, helping many schools in the area with their corporate issues.

During their talk:

  • Katie will guide you through managing people, pensions, parents, and partnerships
  • Jane will give an overview of the purpose, process, pitfalls, property, and politics
  • Holly will focus on cash, corporate issues, and contracts

Guest Speakers

Victoria Harrison - HC Academy Trust

Victoria Harrison is the deputy CEO of HC Academy Trust and has vast experience in business and financial management, for both public and private sectors. Having worked in education for over 15 years, she has a deep understanding of the corporate and operational support functions of schools.

She will discuss:

  • The benefits of becoming an MAT
  • Choosing the right trust for your school
  • Standardised systems and the myths of autonomy

Narinder Gill - Elevate MAT

Narinder Gill is the school improvement director and North Star Lead for Elevate MAT. She has worked in education for over two decades, successfully leading three schools as a head teacher. A published author, her work ‘Creating Change in Urban Settings’ explores the impact of curriculum and leadership development during challenging times.

Narinder is a strategic director for the Curriculum Foundation, a not-for-profit charity providing curriculum related support and guidance to schools, government bodies, and ministries worldwide. She regularly works alongside schools, trusts, and private sector companies to design and deliver bespoke leadership programmes.

She will share her journey and experience in the education sector. She will discuss the key take-aways she has learnt from working in both local authority maintained schools and academy trusts.

Jerry Woolner - Lisle Marsden

Jerry Woolner is the chair of governors at Lisle Marsden academy, having previously been the chair of a medium-sized MAT for over seven years. He has extensive experience leading colleges, secondary schools, and primary schools through the academisation process.

Jerry has recently been appointed as chair of an Interim Executive Board by the Department for Education. This role sees him managing a federation of schools requiring support. Jerry also experience as a professional management consultant in private and public sectors, specialising in governance, logistics, and safeguarding.

He will cover:

  • Reasons to consider joining an MAT
  • Non-negotiables and points for compromise
  • Whether joining an MAT is inevitable

For further details of what our speakers will cover at the event and the full agenda for the day visit our dedicated events page>>> here and book your place(s) today!

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