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Sustainable growth in multi academy trusts – NAPE 053

Since September 2015, Mark Lacey has served as Chief Executive of the Diocese of Salisbury Academy Trust. The trust comprises of eighteen academies, across Wiltshire and Dorset. The Trust serves 3,500 pupils and has a clear and active growth strategy as it seeks to drive forward improvement of its academies, the vast majority of which entered the Trust under sponsored arrangements.

The Diocese of Salisbury Academy Trust has a vision for the growth of thriving learning communities, that provide everyone with the opportunity to achieve more than they ever thought possible. Christian values and service are at the heart of all we do, as we help young people to develop excitement in learning.

Mark served as Headteacher in a large challenging primary school in South Bristol. Appointed to headship at the age of 30, Mark led the school from inadequate to good. Key to the success of the school was the relentless focus on creating and maintaining an empowering vision for all members of the school community. Alongside this, development of people was key, and the school developed its own programme of coaching for all staff as well as being recognised as a Gold Level Investor in People.

Mark also led the development of the Malago Learning Partnership, a collaboration of 9 local schools. As Chair of the group he guided the development of a highly successful school improvement strategy, an in-depth joint practice development programme and a range of curriculum and assessment programmes. In 2012 he led his school through the academy conversion process. He has also served for a number of years as a governor at a secondary school within the partnership. which achieved its first ever ‘good’ inspection outcome during this time.

In addition to his work in school, Mark was very much involved in the development of the Local Leader of Education of education programme in Bristol through the National College, working in a coaching role with Headteachers to support them in the development and growth of leadership capacity; working with Headteachers to find solutions and ways forward within their own organisations.

Mark has a Business Degree from the University of Bath as well as a Masters, with distinction, in Educational Leadership and Management from the University of Worcester, the latter of which focused on the effective features of collaborative partnerships between schools. Mark has four children of his own and is very active in the work of his local church.

Twitter: @thedsat

Linked In: Mark Lacey

Mark was involved with new research produced by PrimarySite. It questions how easy it is for multi academy trusts (MATS) to grow and how Covid-19 has made expansion harder.

Sustainable Growth in Multi Academy Trusts interviewed and surveyed MAT leaders and experts to get their insight on how MAT could grow. It identifies five important challenges: lack of available schools wanting to join MATs, a risk averse culture, competition from other MATs, a shortage of senior leaders with the right expertise, and limited access to funding to support growth. The research also found that managing immediate issues linked to the pandemic needed to take priority and would slow the growth of MATs plans for growth.

You can view the report by clicking here.

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