How can IT be optimised across a Multi Academy Trust? 

19 January 2024

Multi Academy Trusts face efficiency challenges due to factors such as the distance between sites and the use of different systems that were installed before each academy joined the Trust.  

Schools that are geographically spread are less able to share physical resources, combined with an inconsistent range of technology, will impact teaching, learning and administration.  

There are several strategies and technologies that can be adopted to optimise IT across a MAT

Cloud services 

Migrating to the cloud is an ideal solution to centralise systems, software, data and processes across the MAT. Cloud technologies can be the foundation of collaboration and enhanced productivity, with the added benefit of potential cost savings over the medium to long term, once the initial investment has been made. 

Cloud technology can also enable lesson planning, collaboration and deliverability from the cloud with a significant impact on time-efficiency, especially when adopted by all of the academies in a Trust. 

Networks and infrastructure 

Centralisation of IT infrastructure is beneficial for maintenance, cost and time saving. A multi-site network should facilitate cross-site connectivity via a single network domain, allowing all sites to communicate and enabling staff to work seamlessly from any site, regardless of location. 

Standardising each site not only saves money but increases confidence in the use of IT when the same services are available and guaranteed at each site. 


MATs can benefit from implementing central administrative services such as payroll, invoicing, budgeting, recruitment and HR, saving time and resources. Consolidating to a single system for all academies in a MAT removes redundant or excessive licensing. Centralising policies and procedures saves time on administration and HR. 

Furthermore, a central IT team can be a way to ensure that IT strategy and policy across the whole Trust is properly planned, managed and implemented, beginning at board level. In addition, purchasing as a Trust makes IT procurement more cost effective, granting access to more options and further opportunities to invest in better resources. 

Monitoring and testing of IT services can be carried out at each academy, to assess the quality and impact of a particular legacy provider or service, with a view to retaining the best provision when consolidating services. 

Work with an IT partner 

MATs can partner with an external IT company who can audit and provide a report on what’s effective and where there is room for improvement. A trusted and experienced partner will liaise with all IT staff to build a clear picture of the current infrastructure and processes, providing strategy in the form of a roadmap and a plan covering the short, medium and long term, allowing you to make informed decisions. 


Any new technologies or ways of working may lead to staff feeling overwhelmed or unsure and reluctant to embrace changes. To overcome this and ensure maximum participation and buy-in from everyone, relevant training should be provided. Training recommendations may be advised by your IT provider if you are partnering with one. Training will also ensure you’re getting the most out of your technology investments and ensure that team members feel supported. 

Professional development 

An IT support provider will be able to support the professional development of your inhouse IT team and provide guidance on how this can be delivered and monitored, whilst ensuring that the most suitable platforms are used. Auditing of IT skills across the Trust could also be carried out where required. 

We’d be happy to talk if you’d like to discuss working with an IT partner. We provide tailored support, ranging from full implementation and management of your IT, a co-managed model where we work in partnership with your internal IT team, or ad-hoc consultancy when you need it. 

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