Why we are ditching the use of MAT

#MATLeaders networks become #TrustLeaders networks

Michael Pain, CEO, Forum Strategy

I am pleased to announce that Forum Strategy’s six regional networks for academy trust CEOs and leaders are to be rebranded as #TrustLeaders from today, after much discussion and contemplation.

I strongly believe it is time to ditch the use of ‘MAT’ when describing multi-academy trusts. As well as being yet another horrible and clunky acronym to add to the litany of acronyms across the education and public sector, the term is also pretty meaningless to the wider public as a whole – not least parents and pupils. Academy trusts, and schools generally, exist, first and foremost, to serve the public as their most important stakeholder. The language, rather than being confusing and inaccessible, must inspire confidence and be self-explanatory to those who pay the bills and use the services! It should also focus minds…


We want the whole sector, as most academy trusts are now doing, to inspire trust and to embody and represent the word in its truest sense.


Trust itself is such an important word. Whilst so many CEOs, boards and trusts are hugely committed and making a big difference towards ensuring children receive the very best start in life, we also know that trust is low because of the behaviours of a small minority. So many of us want the whole sector, as most academy trusts are now doing, to inspire trust and to embody and represent the word in its truest sense. It’s also an important word legally, because academy trusts are charitable trusts – not shareholder or profit-making organisations – something that has confused even some senior politicians who should know better! Trust matters on so many levels.

So let’s get away from the ugly acronym that actually represents the efforts of so many communities of teachers, leaders and others. People working together to mobilise expertise and resources in the service of even more children. Let’s celebrate that these are ‘trusts’ and that they are organisations working hard to build trust and accountability to those they serve. Where this is not happening, let’s emphasis that trust is the aim – building and maintaining the trust of those they serve.

Our annual National #TrustLeaders conference in September will very much be about how Academy trusts can be at the heart of their communities, building that sense of trust and accountability with those they serve first and foremost. You can find out more about the event here:MAT Leaders Annual Conference 2019 I look forward to seeing all our members there and to working with all of you as a growing community of #TrustLeaders members.


Michael Pain

Forum Strategy runs 6 regional #TrustLeaders networks and the ‘Being The CEO’ programme. Michael Pain is a coach to numerous CEOs and has written the first book on academy trust leadership, Being The CEO, which is published through John Catt Educational.


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