27th January 2017

The Economic Benefits of Joining, Establishing or Growing a Multi-Academy Trust

Joining or establishing a Multi-Academy Trust (MAT) can result in economies of scale and efficiency savings, concludes new research by the Education Policy Institute (EPI). Overall, MATs spend less per pupil on running expenses and more on teaching staff than local authority (LA) schools, according to the report: “The Economic Benefits of Joining, Establishing or Growing a Multi-Academy Trust”, prepared for Stone Group, IT solutions provider for the public sector.

Key findings:

  • Secondary schools within MATs are spending £49 per pupil less on running expenses than LA schools
  • MATs spend £23 more per pupil on teaching staff at primary level than LA schools
  • Further savings made when geographic “clusters” of MAT schools reach “critical mass”
  • Technology used to overcome geographical barriers, delivering efficiencies and cost savings

Running expenses, which includes everything from back office and administrative costs to cleaning and catering, are a significant part of school expenditure. At secondary level, schools in MATs spend £1,490 per pupil compared to £1,539 in LA schools – that’s a saving of £49 per pupil. Savings are also made at primary level but this figure reduces to £6 per pupil, but per pupil expenditure on teaching staff in primary schools in MATs is still £23 per pupil higher than in LA schools.

With larger MATs (those comprising of 11 academies up to around 70) having higher average academy distances, the report identified how technology can help overcome geographical barriers, improve efficiencies and reduce costs.

Geography is significant in determining the extent to which economies of scale exist, with schools in MATs more closely clustered spending less per pupil on back office costs. The report finds that costs rise by 0.5 pence per pupil per km. But size matters – medium sized MATs (6 to 10 academies) spend less than smaller MATs (5 or fewer).

The report: “The Economic Benefits of Joining, Establishing and Growing a Multi-Academy Trust” is free to download here.