What we do
DEMAT exists to enable Church of England schools to continue to achieve educational excellence through Christian-based ethos and values. It will establish a lasting legacy of a financially and pedagogically self-sustaining organisation, enabling professionals and schools to continue to improve and evolve through collaborative support and challenge. This vision statement was defined and agreed by the DEMAT Executive Board at an away day on 21 November 2016.
DEMAT and the Diocese of Ely
The Bishop of Ely and advising Diocesan Board of Education have previously prescribed that Church schools located in the Diocese wishing to academise would be supported to do so through the provision of an umbrella Diocese of Ely Multi-Academy Trust (DEMAT).
This is because the academy agenda enables the Diocese to further the mission of the Church of England as a provider of high quality education, as set out in the Diocesan strategy document.
Currently DEMAT is the preferred option for any Church school seeking to become an academy in the Diocese. Although DEMAT schools benefit from the security of a larger single MAT, operationally most also benefit from working within a Local School Collaborative. DEMAT contains 37 primary schools and 1 secondary school (in opening phase).
Our Mission is to support and encourage the work of academies in DEMAT, promoting Christian distinctiveness through high quality education of children and young people.
DEMAT will work with all phases of Church schools in the Diocese (Cambridgeshire, Peterborough, West Norfolk) and one school in Suffolk. DEMAT will also support any community school should such support be sought, since all schools in the Diocese are members of the wider Diocesan community. This covers a diverse geographical area of 1,508 square miles, comprising city, market town and rural areas. The region has an extreme range of socio-economic circumstance, from extreme wealth to areas with significant poverty.
- To ensure that our academies are centres of excellence, with a focus on academic outcomes and the nurture of resilience & respect, as set out in the Ofsted Inspection Handbook
- To promote high quality professional development and encourage mutual support in the pursuit of effective teaching and good pupil progress
- To develop innovative and aspirational thinking, building on our long educational heritage and to make use of the latest research in pedagogy and child development
- To foster, maintain and celebrate Christian distinctiveness in our schools
- To ensure our academies have a particular vocation to the least advantaged, enabling them through education to change their life opportunities
DEMAT will act as the lead sponsor for any Church school within the Diocese of Ely who wishes to become an academy, or for Church schools which are being directed to become sponsored academies by the Department for Education. It will act as a vehicle for enabling the sharing of best practice and economies of scale achievable across a group of academies.
Our school improvement approach seeks to build strong capacity to improve from within, a culture that looks outward, and never stops trying to be better. Schools which join DEMAT are able to help shape our work, and benefit both from the support they receive and the opportunities for school improvement they are able to offer. The behaviours we expect to see:
- We encourage strong and capable system leaders
- We enable our people to excel, to provide outstanding education
- We build trust and respect across our academies
As a MAT, the way we wish to grow is to develop
- Long term relationships within and across communities in which there is an opportunity for continuous improvement.
The principles by which we will manage the organisation
- Openness and honesty to build DEMAT, be transparent, sharpen accountability and drive improvement
- We will operate a simple, efficient organisation and seek wherever possible to measure value for money in terms of impact on learner outcomes
- We operate an effective and strong governance framework
- Tight control of our resources to achieve economies, efficiencies and effectiveness
DEMAT: Transparency Statement (January 2019)
Values: This statement serves to demonstrate how we conduct our business in strict accordance with the principles of public practice, as stipulated in (for example) our own constitutional documents, and the government’s guidance, whether that be the Orange Book of Risk Management, ESFA handbook and guidance, and other stipulations and expectations published by HMRC and Ofsted. This statement also seeks to emphasise the core values and behaviours which underpin the running of our large and successful Trust.
Principles: The Trust is founded on the principle of providing and focusing on the best education possible for the learners in its care of all faiths and none, and the best working environment for all its employees. It explicitly seeks to take on schools in different circumstances, with (for example) one third of schools being taken on in a sponsored capacity because they are in need of intensive nurturing and care to make significant improvements. This diverse and mixed family thus forms a whole greater than its collective parts to challenge, support, nurture and grow. In particular, the Trust seeks out and chooses to take seriously the system responsibility of supporting schools in challenging localities.
Commercial Integrity: Operational delivery is undertaken within the scope of the resources made available to us through government funding: the Trust receives no other funding from any external agency. To this end it does not seek, and does not promote, any external commercial relationships. All procurement is conducted in a transparent manner following protocols set out in Public Contracts Regulations 2015, which seek to obtain the best value for public money. As a consequence, the Trust has many different partnerships with suppliers who work with the Trust because they provide best value for our academies. Similarly, the Trust does not seek the distraction of commercial activity by, for example, trading its services to other organisations. On principle we seek to stay true to our core purposes, remaining focused on delivering education in schools.
Use of Funding: 100% of all funding received is spent on supporting teaching and learning across the Trust. Each school contributes 6% of their budget (excluding additional grants such as DSEN and Sports and Pupil premium) to support shared services, of which 95% funds an equally distributed Shared Services Team, who work across all schools to support, monitor and advise in specialist areas covering school improvement, finance, HR, property and specialist educational provision. The remainder of funds (see published accounts) pay for the necessary legally accountable leadership and management positions, and supports the delivery of strong governance processes.
Connectivity: Any supplier or employee appointed to the Trust is screened for previous or current connectivity (such as through share ownership, or friends or relations etc.). Any organisation or individual with direct existing family connections will be appointed on merit only, and by default will require the additional approval of the CEO. An important component of this is the published Trustee Register of Interest.
Pay: All employees across all areas receive remuneration benchmarked against sector standards. A Remuneration Committee meets once per year to set the pay of the CEO which is then taken for review and approval before the full Board of Trustees. The Trustees also review the pay set by the CEO, including that of the senior leadership team and headteachers. All staff at all levels are subject to rigorous performance management processes. The Finance and Estates and Personnel Committees formally review the balance and fairness of pay of headteachers and all other pay. All employees, including the highest remunerated employees, receive pay in line with sector benchmarks. No employee has a salary in excess of the maximum in the School Teachers’ Pay and Conditions (STPC) document, regardless of whether they are employed on teachers’ pay and conditions. Similarly, no employee earns, pro-rata, less than the national minimum wage. The Trust is subject to and takes seriously compliance and reporting of equal pay. A limited set of expenses are paid to employees concerning travel and other business-only related activity. These are published in the annual accounts.
Accountability: The Trust has a very strong accountability framework, exercised through a clear and robust governance structure which is published. This comprises local governing bodies in each school, acting as committees to a main Board of Trustees, appointed on the basis of their skills and experience, who meet at minimum four times per year as a main Board. In addition, such Trustees meet in separate Finance and Estates, Personnel, Standards and Ethos and Audit Committees. In total, therefore Trustees meet formally at minimum fourteen times per year on top of regular informal meetings and engagements with schools. Formal agendas are set and minutes are taken and attendance is very high.
Regulation and Challenge: The Trust is (and welcomes) regulation and monitoring by government. This comes in the form of (for example) regular Ofsted inspection of its academies, Ofsted Review of the Trust itself (see Ofsted website), monthly reporting to the ESFA and RSC, and annual reporting to the HMRC, Companies House, ICO and HSE. All accounts are published. A full external annual audit is also commissioned and undertaken by a major accounting firm. The Trust actively facilitates external participation by the local authority in the monitoring and moderation of standard assessment tests and teacher assessments, both in terms of accuracy and also transactional compliance. All schools report their standardised assessments to government in exactly the same manner as all maintained schools, and are benchmarked through public reports as such.
The Trust welcomes any questions or further information requests in relation to the manner in which it conducts its business and the values and principles underpinning its behaviours.