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CfEE Forum round table, 27th March 2018

Portfolio management is the selection, prioritisation and control of an organisation’s projects and programmes in line with its strategic objectives and capacity to deliver. In a typical market, the goal is to balance change initiatives with regular business while optimising return on investment. In a public service market where private capital investment is prohibited, the goal is sustainability, including allowance for the building of healthy reserves for revenue-financed strategic development.

In March 2018, Julian Drinkall, Chief Executive Officer of the Academies Enterprise Trust (AET), addressed a CfEE roundtable event on his approach to portfolio management in the acadmy sector. Julian shared his approach to the management of a national trust and explained why AET is not organised on a regional basis. He shared his approach to school improvement and governance, the challenges of funding and the advantages of MATs.

In the discussion, participants agreed that the system needs a number of different models of MATs; that one size doesn’t fit all and that this will lead to much needed innovation. Whilst being in a MAT might not be important to pupils or parents (the individual school is most important to this stakeholder group), it has the potential to be key to teachers by providing bespoke CPD and career pathways.

Participants were left with the concept that MATs need not be a ‘chain’ of schools or a franchise. A MAT is a portfolio. And in a portfolio, the whole needs to be greater than the sum of its parts. 

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