How will DHMAT grow?
DHMAT has a strong and unique identity where the values of Grace, Service and Family lie at the heart of everything we do. We are very mindful that with growth we need to protect our values and levels of service. Our strategy is to grow the number of schools and pupils beyond where we are today, in order to be able to fund greater levels of service and add more value to existing and new schools and pupils. Immediate expansion plans for the Central Team include:
- Dedicated estates Manager
- Increased capacity for Finance/HR teams
- Strengthening school improvement capacity
- Central support for additional needs including Educational Psychology, Social and Emotional support, Speech and Language
Some of the greatest benefits felt by Headteachers in the MAT are the collegiate leadership provided by the Executive Leadership Team, comprised of serving Heads and the senior central staff: this is a support network and decision-making body that maximises the quality of education delivered by every school in the MAT.
With every potential new school that wishes to join the MAT there will be a comprehensive process of due diligence undertaken – this is for the benefit of both the School and DHMAT. This will include all areas but a strong focus on buildings, finance and the quality of education.
Does DHMAT have an optimum number of schools/pupils that it would like?
Our first stage objective is to achieve pupil numbers closer to 6000. We recognise that this may require a larger number of new schools joining than would be the case in a more urban area, and, as we have stated above, we are mindful that expansion must be handled in a way that protects our values and current high levels of service to our schools. It is as a result of this due diligence that we will protect our current levels of service and see them develop further.
Will DHMAT impose schemes and processes on me?
Yes, in so far as having common processes across the Trust increases the level of value all schools receive from the Trust. However, these processes refer to the operational running of the school (budgeting, financial management, estate management, safeguarding, HR processes, absence reporting). Existing Heads within the Trust will tell you that these common processes make the running of their school easier. The Trust does not have standardised ways of delivering the highest quality of education, believing that individual schools know the needs of their pupils better than anyone else can.
We believe in nurturing the values of each individual school and keeping the Trust in their service, not vice versa. We are constantly seeking best practice and new thinking and most of this comes from schools within the Trust. We do expect any school that joins the Trust to play an active role in developing this thinking and to be open to sharing their best practices and taking on board the best practices of others. Much more important than schemes or processes, joining the Trust does imply a commitment to the total ‘family of primary and secondary schools in Hereford Diocese which together can provide a higher quality of education than any one school could’.