The time for the future is now

Wednesday, September 25 2019

Every MAT and School should be ready for the future

A unique way of thinking

Somebody asked me the other day, “what’s truly important in your life?” It was a surprisingly easy question to answer. Family and friends matter the most, Concero, which is like a second family comes next and everything else falls in behind. I’m not being all soppy and yeah, I know it’s a cliché but for me, values are shared with the people you care about and later generations take them on, it’s like you’re leaving behind your legacy.

Always listen

I was chatting about this with my miniature schnauzer Ernie as we walked through Castlecroft a few weeks ago. He’s a good listener and always agrees with my notions, at least after a treat. I know what’s important to me but what’s important to Concero and our clients? We walked a little further and I started to relax, when, as is often the case, the answers came and the best ideas started to flow. It was then that the seed of the ICT strategy manager service was planted.

As we got back in the car and started to make our way home, I thought about that idea a little more. MAT (Multi Academy Trust) members have often talked about the importance of working together throughout different departments to make the most of the budgets and the skills they have. We are an integral part of that. We sit perfectly within their structures, almost as their “IT manager” and we look after everything from broadband connections to IT infrastructure, software installations and more. Yet, we have been told on numerous occasions that something isn’t quite right. Each section works well and each school department does a great job but where is the synergy? What happens if somebody leaves?

Developing Together

I set up a meeting early the next morning with James and the team to explain why every MAT and school needs to have a longer-term strategy, not just in ICT but in all areas. We discussed why this doesn’t always happen naturally and realised that plans are often made with the team members who are currently in place without thinking about the consequences of them leaving. Plans seems to be made for the present with little focus on the future, often because the DfE (Department for Education) has yet another new policy and yet another new set of guidelines in place.

These guidelines are important and they are made for a reason but of course, it takes a lot of time and effort to keep up and it is almost impossible to do everything. What’s missing is the individuality of the MAT or school. If a MAT or school came up with an idea when they were “walking their dog”, would they have the time and space to develop it and would it be able to breathe? How would they know if this idea fitted into the DfE guidelines? What would happen if they left? Would the idea die? We don’t think it should.

Leaving a positive legacy

That’s why we created the MAT ICT strategy manager service. Every MAT should be ready for the future and we think that being ready for the future means being set up with a technological plan that aligns with the MAT’s overall, long term goals. The 5-year plan includes training and management that takes into consideration all of the DfE’s guidelines but that also allows for free thinking and the implementation of brilliant ideas. A structure will be put in place so that no matter who is running a trust, the core identity stays the same and the opportunity to make the most of teaching and learning is the basis of any technological solution.

With this plan, every MAT will follow their unique goals, every department will move in the same direction and every member of every team will leave a positive legacy.

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Bradley Clegg