MAT hubs can tackle schools suffering ‘educational isolation’

MAT hubs can tackle schools suffering ‘educational isolation’

Many schools face “educational isolation”. This is a challenge that extends beyond geographical remoteness to include professional, economic, and cultural isolation, resulting in a lack of much-needed resources.

“Educational isolation” is a complex issue, and its impact resounds particularly in rural and coastal areas.

Factors such as socioeconomic issues, limited employment opportunities, and infrastructural challenges contribute to the hardship these schools face.

Furthermore, a recent report by Professor Tanya Ovenden-Hope and Dr Rowena Passy highlighted that pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds in these isolated schools tend to have lower achievement levels compared to their urban counterparts.

The solution to this challenging predicament might be found in the Multi-Academy Trusts (MAT) hub model.

This approach involves neighbouring schools supporting each other under the umbrella of a Multi-Academy Trust.

A recent study of a MAT hub comprising 20 primary schools in the South West of England provided insights into how the hub model could ease educational isolation.

The report praised the model for its promotion of trusted local relationships, beneficial collaborations, and enhanced communication quality.

School leaders appreciated the non-judgmental, local support that significantly reduced feelings of isolation. The hub model also provided an environment for sharing knowledge, expertise, and resources, especially beneficial during the pandemic.

The success of the hub model suggests that MAT leaders should consider adopting this approach, particularly if they oversee educationally isolated schools.

Not only does it facilitate school improvement at a local level, but it also helps school leaders to access much-needed resources.

However, it’s not just up to MATs. Policymakers also have a significant role to play in acknowledging and responding to the unique needs of educationally isolated schools.

Speaking with Tes magazine, Steve Rollett, the Deputy Chief Executive of the Confederation of School Trusts (CST), pointed out that the strength of the trust system lies in its flexibility.

Trust models can be moulded to reflect local needs, thereby catering to the unique challenges faced by educationally isolated schools.

Collaborating with local, neighbouring schools under the umbrella of a MAT can enhance resource sharing, build stronger relationships and contribute to overcoming the challenges of educational isolation.

Contact Haslers for advice.