Why Strategic Communications is a Key Tool for MATs

The education landscape is continuously changing at a rapid pace, especially since the Covid-19 pandemic. For any Multi Academy Trust (MAT) in the UK today, aligning strategic goals and objectives with the government’s guidelines for ‘highquality Trusts can be the difference between success and failure. 

According to the Department for Education and Ofsted’s recommendation for MATs, there are five main pillars that make up a high-quality Trust and these are: 

A. Leadership and organisational development

B. Quality of education 

C. Strategic governance 

D. Finance and operations 

E. Workforce and talent development 

These are the pillars through which the governing bodies will assess the performance of Trusts across the country. As these are the pillars, and we pride ourselves on staying ahead of the curve at EE, we are continuously refining the way that we think about, and help our clients deliver on these pillars to give them the best chance of success and growth.  

Why is Strategic Communications Important?

If there is one tool that can position Trust leadership teams to deliver on these pillars, it is strategic communications. Communicating (or sharing information) with a Trust’s relevant audience is one thing; strategically communicating with them is another.  

Strategic communications provide an opportunity to interact and share information with stakeholder audiences so that each audience group feels connected to a Trust’s mission and ethos.  

Another advantage of strategic communications is that it allows for bespoke interactions around specific pillars and themes, such as organisational development, strategic governance, operations, and talent development. Leaders don’t have to communicate in general terms but focus instead on directing the information flow where it needs to go and communicating efficiently.  

What Can Strategic Communications be Used For?

Strategic Communications can be used in a variety of ways: 

  1. To communicate effectively across a MAT’s relevant stakeholder groups, including students, staff, regulators, families, local councils etc.  
  2. Getting audiences to see themselves in a vision or ethos that needs to be communicated.  
  3. Optimising a MAT’s brand to highlight its strengths and advantages.  
  4. Strategic communications can be used to create a proactive process for handling risks and weaknesses, rather than the mainstream reactive approach. 
  5. To create a cohesive and compelling narrative around a MAT’s existing activities and its prospects.  
  6. Strategic communications also help to generate flexibility within a MAT’s public-facing strategic priorities.  

These are just a few examples of what strategic communications can do for your MAT. There is expansive scope for bespoke campaigns and plans targeted at specific problems an MAT may have or challenges they may be trying to overcome.  

Setting Up Strategic Communications for Your MAT

Wrapping your head around strategic communications and how to go about it can seem like a mountain to climb in addition to the responsibilities you already have. Fortunately, we have a team of seasoned strategic communications professionals that can help you get closer to the DfoE’s definition of a high-quality Trust.  

  1. We will meet with you and your team to discuss your needs and strategic objectives within your context.  
  2. In the days after that initial call, we will share follow up questions (guided by research and our outside view) that will help us understand your needs better.  
  3. Afterwards, we will develop a recommendations document to confirm that we understood your needs and have put forward solutions that help you solve them.  
  4. We will allow a period of time for you and your leadership to digest our recommendations and share any feedback you may have or revisions you may require.  
  5. Once the strategy has been approved by you, we will start planning it out and repeat steps 3 & 4 for the strategic communications plan.  
  6. The last step of this process is delivery/execution of the plan, measurement of its effectiveness, and feedback, should the plan need to be evolved to accommodate new realities.  

If you are interested in leveraging strategic communications to take your MAT to the next level, get in touch!