How to join TCAT

Choosing to convert to an academy, or selecting an academy trust to work with, is a momentous decision for any school. When joining a trust, there are many things to consider and it is important to recognise that this will be a major cultural change. The importance of investing time and applying due diligence from both parties is key as part of this process.

The government’s vision is for every school to be part of a family of schools in strong academy trusts. Over 50% of pupils in state-funded education study in academies. There are many benefits to being part of a trust and these were apparent during the COVID-10 pandemic. As a collective, we were able to support schools, leaders, staff and pupils and direct resources across the trust to ensure that all were well supported in being able to remain focused on teaching.

The opportunity to work with a strong network of like-minded schools is an exciting one but the importance of this decision cannot be underestimated. This membership is offered to independent academies and maintained schools where there is an interest in exploring what life is like as part of a schools trust like ours.  It is designed to enable schools – maintained or academies – to benefit from some intentional peer-to-peer, school-to-school engagement and to experience how life in a multi-academy trust works. 

In recognition of this, TCAT offers the opportunity for schools to join us on a temporary basis through our Associate Membership.

What is an Associate Membership?

This membership is offered to interested schools who wish to explore further what it is like to be part of The Challenge Academy Trust. The membership has been carefully designed to allow schools to experience how a multi-academy works whilst benefitting from both educational and business support. Membership runs for a maximum of 12 months with a review period built in.

Following an agreement of Associate Membership, school leaders, governors, staff and pupils can access a range of Trust activities. These include areas to support both the academic and business aspects of the school.


Education & Business Activities

Curriculum support, including a selection subject deep dives

Support from TCAT’s education team to raise standards and performance in your school



A comprehensive SEND review, including recommendations to support those with SEND



A Safeguarding audit and report with recommendations


Leadership coaching session

Mentoring and coaching delivered by a leader within TCAT



A GDPR audit and report with recommendations



A website compliance check


Health and Safety

A health and safety audit and report with recommendations



Integrated curriculum and financial planning support and recommendations



A school finance health check which will expertly review and analyse your school’s current financial position, including a finance development report


Human Resources

A HR audit and report with recommendations


Continuous Professional Development

Access to a selection of training and some collaboration events including our TCAT Learning Platform


Support with conversion

The trust will provide support and guidance prior to the appointment of any solicitor and will work through a comprehensive due diligence process with the school.

For more information contact:

Andy Moorcroft, Chief Executive Officer – 01925 263919


Other useful TCAT documents to support with information:


Useful documents to support: