Our survey results show how MATs are beating COVID-19

Financial clarity protects from fines 1 | Our survey results show how MATs are beating COVID-19
By Toby Lester | 7th October 2020 | 8 min read

We surveyed over 400 education professionals to see how COVID-19 has affected them – and the strategies they’ve employed throughout the pandemic. 

Their feedback provided valuable insight into the strategies and processes that will help multi-academy trusts to beat the coronavirus pandemic.  

The following article and findings are taken from our free insight guide, “Effective school and trust management in the next normal”, which is available to download for free now. 

Financial challenges 

With limited funding and an unprecedented situation, it is inevitable that many education administrators will face significant financial challenges in the coming months. Indeed, 45% of survey respondents agreed that the pandemic has already made an unexpected impacted on their school or MAT’s financial position.  

It’s not possible to predict everything that will happen in this unique situation, and we will all face financial challenges in one way or another. However, there is a lesson to be learned from this unfortunate situation – the value of contingency. 

The value of contingency 

Analytics products have proved to be worth their weight throughout the pandemic. Of those with IRIS Analytics, a powerful business intelligence software, none have experienced unexpected financial difficulties – in stark contrast to our previously mentioned 45% figure. 

Budgeting platforms have also been a considerable help throughout the pandemic, as they enable schools and trusts to model a range of funding and expenditure scenarios. None of our respondents that use IRIS Financial Planner were faced with an unexpected financial situation. 

The administrators at these schools leveraged their financial tools to plan contingencies for every situation. It’s clear that this software will take on even more importance in the near future as the situation evolves. 

Unpredictable overheads 

No one could have predicted the speed by which COVID-19 seized the nation. Seemingly overnight, stocks of hand sanitising gel and cleaning products became virtually non-existent across the country. 

Similarly, no one could have predicted the overwhelming need for personal protective equipment (PPE). Until now, PPE largely referred to building supplies such as dust masks and heavy-duty gloves. Now, every organisation in the country is stockpiling latex gloves, masks and face shields. 

These all add up as unexpected costs. We found that 36% of schools and trusts have been financially impacted because of the need for PPE, first aid and cleaning – a cost that never could have been predicted before the pandemic. This expense far outweighed all other reported costs; for example, only 7% of schools had to take on agency staff in response to COVID-19. 

Budgeting tools will prove valuable to tackle the cost of PPE and any other future unexpected costs, as it enables admin staff to manage reserve funds and build out models for their use. These tools will be essential for effective school management throughout the next normal. 

Download the full guide 

The full insight guide is packed with results from our survey alongside cutting-edge insight into the tools and processes that can help your trust to beat the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s available to download now for free