Shires MAT formed in September 2020 and currently consists of five schools. 

Feckenham CE Primary School is a small rural primary school with approximately 100 pupils. Studley High School is an oversubscribed 11-16 secondary school in Warwickshire with 850 pupils on roll. Webheath Academy Primary is an oversubscribed two form entry primary school in Redditch with 420 pupils on roll. Ridgeway Secondary School, a small secondary school in Astwood Bank, Redditch, joined the MAT in September 2022. Astwood Bank Primary School joined us in September 2023.

The rationale for forming the MAT is linked to a collaborative approach where schools retain high levels of autonomy, enabling school leaders to focus on making a real difference for their pupils, staff and the wider community. This autonomy is framed by core systems and processes common to all schools which support safeguarding, finance, IT, HR, Health & Safety, SEND, Improvement planning, QA etc.   

Shires MAT aims to support our community in providing high quality education for all pupils and clarity of routes through a mixed two tier and three tier system, locally. We expect the Shires MAT to grow to six schools in 2023 with North Bromsgrove High School joining the Trust. 

Our MAT is based on the principle that collaboration between schools offers benefits to all within the Trust. We currently operate a top slice model, ensuring we work with a dedicated central team with the capacity to provide a high quality provision and grow further, whilst also maintaining excellent value for money. Schools pay a contribution from GAG funding (currently 4%) to ensure a central offer based on need within the Trust and reflecting the size of the Trust. This allows us to maintain an ambitious approach, combined with an affordable and supportive offer for schools.  

Trust central offer

Since September 2020, we have developed a core offer for our schools.  

This includes: 

  • The CEO/Principal provides strategic development of the Trust working closely with stakeholders and partners (Trustees/Governors, local authorities, Teaching School Hubs, the Regional Schools Commissioner/DfE and the Trust Leadership Team) to maintain a high quality provision, whilst also promoting growth and stability within the MAT. The Trust leadership team (Central leadership and Headteachers) meet regularly and there is a clear focus on school development and improving outcomes and experiences for all of our pupils. The CEO is also a National Leader of Education and is actively involved in supporting schools regionally. 
  • Growing curriculum links between schools. This includes opportunities for moderation and sharing curriculum expertise. Some staff work across sites to help provide specialist teaching for pupils and pupils have regular opportunities to experience different school settings (for example, KS2 pupils experiencing learning in secondary school practical subjects). This work is driven by a collaborative approach as all schools retain autonomy of curriculum offer, but where it makes sense to align or share practice, we do so. 
  • Our Trust safeguarding lead supports delivery of effective safeguarding across the Trust. This provides a safeguarding audit and action plan, comprehensive training for staff and governors and dedicated support and development. There are also regular DSL collaborative meetings linked to both development and training.
  • Trust SEND lead supports delivery and development of SEND practices across the Trust. This includes annual audits/training and development, as well as collaborative meetings and planning for SENDCos.
  • A Trust IT lead works closely with the COO and schools to ensure the right resources are in place to support staff and pupils.
  • A finance team consisting of a chief financial officer, finance manager and a finance assistant. The finance team supports school business leaders/administrators to produce monthly management accounts, prepare budgets and coordinate payments and transactions. This allows the teams working within schools to focus on best value, wider school provision and ensuring the day-to-day operations are a priority. This also includes contract management and securing best value through Trust procurement. 
  • Trust leadership with a dedicated Chief Operations Officer, supporting business managers and leaders across schools with IT, estates, Health & Safety, HR, sustainability, risk moderation and contracts.
  • Leadership development across the Trust with our bespoke programs introducing leadership development at various levels, supported by the national suite of NPQs for more experienced staff. Trust-wide INSET also supports the development of pedagogy and collaboration between schools. 
  • Dedicated Trust HR provision with an HR manager employed within the Trust working alongside our external HR provider. A suite of Trust policies support favourable terms and conditions for all staff. 
  • Trust provision for each school with legal advice, HR advice and access to support on a vast array of school issues. 
  • Health & Safety audits and oversight through our Trust contract with an external provider. This includes staff training packages linked to compliance and Health & Safety. 
  • Trust CPD offered through an online delivery platform. CPD includes compliance, teacher, support staff and governor development. 
  • A staff wellbeing offer with a dedicated website and interactive support. This includes counselling for all employees and their dependants and wider benefits which we are adding to regularly. 
  • A Trust wide approach to Apprenticeships and effective use of the apprenticeship levy to support schools in developing key staff. 
  • School improvement support with termly visits and reports at both primary and secondary level. This is based around consistent planning and evaluation processes and individual priorities linked to each school. 
  • The Shires MAT leadership group offers wider support to schools supporting delivery of whole school priorities and the provision of further leadership capacity, where needed. This is at both Deputy and Headteacher level. 
  • Trust wide marketing and communications support from a dedicated staff member, including design, digital creation, branding, social media and website management. 
  • Strategic overview of all IT within the MAT with external IT support and further supported by a dedicated network manager. 
  • A growing suite of employee benefits ranging from a salary sacrifice car scheme to a wellbeing platform and eye tests.