Horizon Academy Trust

Join our Trust

We are committed to collaborating with schools that share our vision for growth and development. We welcome any organisation interested in joining Horizon Academy Trust and are open to building strong relationships based on shared goals and values. It is important that we all take time to understand each other’s needs and work towards a common purpose.


Frequently Asked Questions

Why should we join a trust?

Arguably, one of the most significant advantages of joining a Multi-Academy Trust is the extensive network of collaboration between schools. This network serves as an invaluable resource to address areas for improvement.

By becoming a part of a closely-knit network, schools gain access to support from other institutions or the central services of the trust. In an ever-evolving educational landscape, stability and protection are essential benefits that can have a long-term positive impact on schools. With a support network in place, schools can more easily adapt to unforeseen changes.


Considering your options- questions to consider

What would joining a trust mean for us in terms of our school's autonomy?

The trustees of a Multi-Academy Trust bear the ultimate responsibility for any academy operating within it, however, they can delegate elements of their work to local committees. This level of delegation varies between trusts and can be evidenced in the trust’s Scheme of Delegation.  


Does our vision align with the trust?

When considering joining a trust it's essential to evaluate whether the trust's vision aligns with your leadership principles. For instance, if your school prioritises a holistic, pupil-centred approach, a trust renowned for rigid systems and discipline may not be the best fit.

In case you find the vision unclear, it would help to examine the trust's goals and objectives, comparing them to your own. Determine whether they complement or contrast with your school's objectives. Additionally, seek insight from other school leaders within the trust, inquiring how the trust's vision, goals, and objectives affect their daily and annual operations. You could visit schools within the trust to have a conversation about how the trust’s vision is embodied in practice.

How will our school retain its unique identity if it joins a trust?

It's essential to conduct your own due diligence process and ask pertinent questions before committing. Some trusts may expect complete consistency, such as uniformity in dress code, quality assurance procedures, and a standard scheme of work in key subjects. Alternatively, some trusts allow schools to maintain autonomy over their curriculum, school name, logo, and slogan. Therefore, it's crucial to analyse whether the trust's vision, values, and ethos match your own.

What support will the trust provide our school?

The trust may provide services such as HR, governance, finance or estate teams, ICT strategy, and catering. You can request details about the central services that will be offered by any trust you are considering joining.



What is the School Improvement offer available to us if we join a trust?

Joining a trust can unlock numerous training and development opportunities for headteachers and staff. Trusts will want to utilise your school’s strengths, which they will discuss with you. As a member of a trust, you may have access to a dedicated school improvement team with experience supporting headteachers. Regardless of whether you are looking for rapid improvements or aspire to achieve "Outstanding" status, check during your due-diligence process that high-quality assistance is available, should you need it, and that it will be tailored to the unique requirements of your school.

I lead a PFI school, what are the implications of joining a trust?

If a PFI school decides to join a trust, the trust will work with their legal team and the PFI provider to arrange a transfer of the buildings to the Trust. Funding and conversion grants are available to cover this cost, and the DfE will work with the trust and school to transfer ownership.

What will happen to our staff if we join a trust?

When you join a trust, the trust becomes the new employer. The Transfer of Undertakings Protection and Employment (TUPE) regulations ensure that staff working in the school will transfer to the trust and remain on the existing terms and conditions of their contract.  


These protections continue after the transfer to the trust. If a trust wishes to change staff terms and conditions, it must consult and negotiate with the trade unions. Any changes made cannot be to the detriment of staff. The Academy Transfers guidance outlines these rights to information and consultation. It also provides guidance on how individual and collective rights are protected when members are transferred to a new employer. 

We are a group of schools looking to join a trust, what should we consider?


If you plan to join a trust, it may be a good idea to consider partnerships with local schools, to submit a joint application as this helps streamline the process. It's advisable to inquire with the trust under consideration whether they have an established regional structure, or have planned one for the future. The ambition of any trust is to grow sustainably, and develop a highly responsive school improvement model to impact positively on the outcomes for all pupils.


The hub model allows for autonomy separate from the central trust structure, this could include; developing their own local curriculum, appointing trust leads and experts, and establishing a director of learning to oversee the hub. The hubs still benefit from accessing the central trust operational functions.


Next steps

Before initiating any formal measures, school leaders and governing boards must allocate sufficient time to explore all the available options. One way to do this is to invite trust leaders to come and speak to school leaders and governors. At this point, you can ask any questions that you have.

Once all of the options have been thoroughly discussed, and you decide to move forward, contact the trust that you would like to join and they will talk you through the process. Due diligence will be undertaken; however, the trust should support you with this.

Operational Review

If you would like to see the benefits that being part of a trust would offer you, your pupils, and your wider school community, Horizon Academy Trust provides a no-cost and no-obligation operational review.

This review would involve meeting with the Chief Operations Officer, and other members of the Horizon Academy Trust central team They will work with you to demonstrate the benefits for your school, and how the trust-to-school relationship would work in practice.

If you would like further information about Horizon Academy Trust, if you would like to speak to the Chief Executive Officer, or to arrange an operational review, please contact acaine@horizonacademytrust.co.uk.

Further information

Best practice guide for due diligence in schools

ASCL Due Diligence,

ISBL Due Diligence MATs

Best practice guide

Land and buildings due diligence checklist