Advisory and consulting support, Chris Abbott OBE

Helping organisations to anticipate change and prepare for growth with trusted and impartial advice.

"I love working with MAT leaders and boards to provide joined-up strategic thinking and supportive external challenge; championing time spent on the activities that deliver the most value for children’s outcomes."

Chris Abbott OBE
Development Director


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Our advisory and consulting services are focused on helping organisations deliver against their most pressing strategic priorities - and in turn to better support children and young people. Our team are experts in planning for growth and delivering change - offering independent and impartial support to boards and CEOs during times of challenge or change. From MAT growth and board reviews to CEO performance management and coaching, we’ve got the insight and experience to help drive strategic improvement.

Tackling the big questions

We bring an independent, informed and external view – and help positively shape your organisation in preparation for it’s next phase of growth or change

How can we help?

Fruit bowl

Listening and observing

We’ll start with an honest and open conversation – unpicking your current issues and priorities. Our experts will have likely faced similar challenges - so we’ll be keen to compare notes and share learning before planning next steps.


Planning for the future

We’ll work with you and your board/leaders to prepare for tomorrow and ensure your vision and values align directly with your investments in people and performance.


Moving forward with purpose

Having agreed a project scope, we’ll produce a clear plan and timeline of inputs and impacts. We’ll draw on a range of capacity to help you move practically forward – in line with your strategic objectives.


Continuing support as your needs evolve

As our knowledge of your organisation deepens, so too does our ability to add value. As your organisation changes shape or size, we’ll adapt our support to create further value and impact – building sustainable internal capacity as we progress.

Frequently asked questions

What is board advisory support and why do we need it?

Trust boards have a critical role to play in the governance, risk and strategy oversight of their MAT. With ever-increasing levels of scrutiny and accountability, our advisory and consulting services support boards and MAT leaders so they can have the greatest impact, both individually and collectively. We take particular pride in our deep experience helping boards source and develop their leadership talent.

What does an effective MAT CEO appraisal system include?

There is no fixed blueprint for an effective MAT CEO appraisal system. The trust board and CEO share the responsibility for ensuring that any appraisal process serves not only as an effective function to maintain accountability but also as an opportunity to provide support and development. Whilst there isn’t a defined approach, there are clear examples of best practice. Talk to our team to discuss your approach and we’d be delighted to share our learning.

What is the right size for an academy trust?

The trust board and CEO have shared responsibility for setting a future strategy that reflects the values of your MAT. Growth of any kind brings with it challenges and changes at various levels. Think carefully about the changes ahead and conduct a thorough (preferably external) review of your own effectiveness and readiness for growth.

How should a MAT board judge its effectiveness?

Any trust board should evaluate its effectiveness on a routine basis - as well as the contribution of individual trustees. This includes meeting the expectation of carrying out an annual self-assessment of the trust board and commissioning independent external reviews of governance. We have significant experience of supporting external reviews and assisting boards and CEOs to improve their process of self-evaluation. For more information, speak to one of the team about examples of best practice and the learning we have gathered from supporting leading trusts nationwide

Want to know more?

Speak to a member of the team to discuss how we can partner your organisation.