School children congregating in a corridor between lessons

‘Academisation Revolution’ presents Economies of Scale Opportunity in Video Security Systems for England’s Schools

Mar 12, 2024

by Frank Crouwel

The Government’s drive to ‘academise’ all of England’s primary and secondary state schools over the last number of years, has seen a wave of mergers and acquisitions of Local Authority grant-maintained and Single-Academy Trust (SAT) schools, into growing Multi-Academy Trusts (MATs).

The average number of schools per MAT has risen rapidly since 2015 and now stands at nearly seven. As more and more schools are brought together through merger or acquisition, and as the sector moves towards the Government’s declared target of achieving full academisation by 2030, opportunities arise for MATs to consolidate camera security systems and standardise across their schools.

There are about 9,400 academy schools across England and nearly 85 per cent of them, 8,000 schools in all, are inside MATs. A total of roughly 1,200 MATs are in operation across the country today. MATs are currently on a trajectory that will see each MAT running at least 10 schools or serving 7,500 pupils or more by 2030. The largest MAT in the country has risen from managing 58 schools in 2018 to running 75 schools in 2023.

A recent DfE research report found that many MATs were experiencing growing pains once they ran over five schools and that these issues don’t abate until they have expanded to ten or more schools. During this pain period, investment in centralised infrastructure and IT systems becomes necessary to realise the potential of economies of scale and enable the consolidation of key functions like finance and administration, ICT, and facilities management.

There is so much change happening during this period that MATs may have to prioritise to which functions improvement budgets will be allocated first. But MATs have much more control and independence than schools were used to previously, and are targeting to eliminate waste and finding efficiencies, with at the core of this a drive to centralise IT systems.

Here at NW Security Group we have a great deal of experience in working with MAT IT teams, helping IT departments to amalgamate, centralise and standardise the management of network-based CCTV systems, finding efficiencies and reducing costs. For example, we helped a college group in the North West, which caters for over 12,000 students, bringing together the CCTV systems of four separate colleges incorporating over 200 cameras into one single centralised video management system run using Milestone XProtect.

From our experience working with trusts over the years and seeing through numerous CCTV standardisation projects for merging schools, NW is well placed to offer advice to MATs in the search for cost-effectiveness and efficiency gains from the economies of scale that can be realised by consolidating multiple, geographically spread CCTV systems into a single, centralised system.

If you are interested, please contact Frank Crouwel for an initial consultation.

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