Leigh Academies Trust
Maintenance Services

Enhancing Educational Infrastructure Though Partnership

Leigh Academies Trust is one of the country’s largest and most-established multi-academy trusts operating across Kent, Medway and South East London. It contains primary, secondary and special academies and is highly inclusive and successful. Their mission is to deliver “education for a better world” by ensuring that young people in their academies have an excellent start in life regardless of their background or ability.

Founded in 2008, Leigh Academies Trust (LAT) has expanded to become one of the UK’s largest and most established multi-academy trusts, currently overseeing 31 academies, and more than 20,000 students between the ages of 2 months and 19 years-old.

The Challenge

LAT’s growth has posed significant challenges along the way, especially when it comes to the management of its diverse and vast estate. With a portfolio comprising 50% primary and 50% secondary schools, ranging from new state-of-the-art facilities to heritage buildings, ensuring consistent and high-quality maintenance across all properties has always been a priority. Yet, it came to a point when LAT’s estate team recognised the need for a more tailored and professional approach to the management and maintenance of its estate services.

In December 2023, LAT appointed DMA Group (DMA) to streamline its maintenance operations and to unite its service delivery. DMA’s appointment marked a significant moment in LAT’s journey towards professionalising the delivery and consistency of its estate services. Despite that, it was critical that DMA’s appointment would ensure that an environment conducive to learning was kept; one you would expect from an expanding multi-academy trust. By consolidating various maintenance contracts into a single arrangement, LAT has achieved just that, all while achieving consistency and value for money.

The Solution

DMA’s team at LAT consists of a dedicated technical lead, supported by a team of field-based engineers, including fabric, air conditioning, gas, plumbing, and electrical engineers. This core team serves as LAT’s primary point of contact and is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations, maintenance, and support of its facilities. Service providers include water treatment specialists, lift engineers, insurance inspectors, drainage engineers, and fire and security engineers.

Both LAT and DMA shared a vision of elevating educational infrastructure standards. For LAT, this meant providing warm, safe, and optimal learning environments while DMA committed to delivering consistent, high-quality service across all properties. By leveraging DMA’s expertise and embracing a partnership approach, LAT has been able to enhance efficiency, minimise disruptions to classes and general school operations, and prioritise pupil and staff well-being.

DMA has also shared its technical expertise with LAT’s on-site FM teams. Through tailored training programmes, interactive workshops, and knowledge-sharing sessions, DMA has empowered LAT’s teams to enhance their skills in fault finding, first response checks, energy management, and sustainability.

The Outcome

The partnership with DMA remains integral to LAT’s growth ambitions. With ongoing collaboration and a focus on innovation, LAT aims to further refine its estate management strategies, ensuring that every academy receives the support it needs to thrive. By prioritising professionalism, transparency, and adaptability, LAT and DMA are poised to set new benchmarks in educational infrastructure management.

The mobilisation process with DMA Group exceeded expectations, with a dedicated team committed to ensuring a seamless integration. We were particularly impressed with the team’s accessibility and openness to feedback. Engineers and service partners continue to demonstrate exceptional knowledge and a willingness to go above and beyond, fostering a transparent and collaborative working relationship.

Simon WoodridgeHead of Estates Operations at LAT

DMA’s commitment to understanding our unique needs and fostering a true partnership has been commendable. Their responsiveness and dedication have instilled confidence in our team, ensuring that our academies receive the support they deserve. The transition to DMA Group has been transformative for LAT. Their expertise and collaborative approach have not only addressed our immediate challenges but also laid a strong foundation for future growth. We look forward to continuing this journey together.

Richard CottamDeputy Estates Director at LAT