Our Central Services
Each of our schools contribute 5% of the General Annual Grant (GAG) funding that they receive to a Central Trust budget. We're focused on providing our schools with great value for money. This section illustrates the range of services that our schools access as a Trust member. Please either scroll down or follow the links below to find out more about the services we provide.
School Improvement Services
For our schools
Schools in the Trust access support linked to core elements of quality assurance and improvement. School evaluations, subsequent school development plans and arrangements to review progress through the year are approached consistently across the Trust. Headteachers and their teams receive both support and challenge from peers from other schools in the Trust. Review activities including learning walks, class visits and wider deep dive activities are agreed at Trust level and enable each school to draw on Trust wide support and resourcing. Individual schools benefit from robust review arrangements, these helpfully pinpoint best practice and support Headteachers and their teams to feed this back into subsequent staff development activities.
Each Headteacher in our Trust meets regularly with our CEO and Head of Development to discuss the progress that their school is making and explore any potential issues or concerns. These sessions will often include learning walks, or additional meetings with staff in the school, enabling the central Trust team to work together with Headteachers, developing a genuine understanding of where each school is at on its journey. This means that where issues arise Headteachers benefit from constructive conversations with the central Trust team and access bespoke support to promote improvement. Our intention is always for quality improvement to be completed in partnership with leaders, teachers and wider staff.
There are also monthly Executive Team meetings involving all of the Headteachers in the Trust. These provide a great opportunity for peer support, problem solving and informing the shape of future Trust school improvement strategy work and wider Trust policy. The development of the current Trust teaching, learning and assessment strategy, incorporating Trust standards, a self-assessment framework for teachers and a revised approach to class visits, observation and wider ‘deep dive’ activities is an example of what can flow from these meetings.
Middle leaders across the Trust meet regularly, visiting each other in their schools. These meetings provide an excellent opportunity to share experiences. We work with the Red Thread Partnership to provide both current and aspiring leaders with opportunities to reflect on and develop the skills they need to lead with clarity, confidence and compassion.
School development fund
Schools in the Trust are able to access central Trust funding to cover the cost of projects that will support their progress. This might relate to investing in specific curriculum schemes or sourcing staff development.
For schools exploring Trust membership
The Trust offers school leadership teams and governing bodies who are exploring Trust membership the opportunity to access elements of the school improvement arrangements outlined above. If this is of interest please contact our CEO, Phil Webster, to scope any support that would help you on your journey.
We’d welcome the opportunity to talk with you.
We see sound financial management as a key enabler for delivering our mission. Our Chief Financial Officer has a proven track record for working with Headteachers and School Business Managers to establish and manage school budgets effectively. Regular finance meetings for School Business Managers ensure that all of our schools remain compliant with the Academies Handbook. End of year financial reporting is completed at Trust level.
In the past year each school in the Trust has delivered an operating surplus and the financial health of each school in the Trust is good. We have a strong focus on securing value for money across all our operations. The arrangements below provide some examples of the benefits of scale that can be accessed through Trust membership.
Delivering economies of scale
Schools in the Trust have committed to using a number of common central systems enabling them to benefit from the economies of scale that such decisions can deliver. Currently this principle applies to our choice of:
All of these services are paid for by the Trust, coming out of the 5% contribution that each school pays. In addition the 5% contribution also covers the costs of Clerking, access to an externally sourced Policy Management and Compliance system, GovernorHub, Health Assured (an Employee Assistance Programme and a suite of online governor training made available through the National Governors Association.
Day to day operational support
Day to day support for site facilities staff at each school is provided by the Central Trust Facilities Manager. This work covers all aspects of Health and Safety and the negotiation of contracts for services. This also covers assistance with large scale building projects. The Trust supports each school to adopt practices that align with Good Estate Management for Schools (GEMS) expectations, providing a strong foundation for the successful estate improvement bids mentioned below.
Accessing additional capital funding
The Central Trust Facilities management function enables our schools to access additional funding to improve the quality of each school site. For the last two years this has enabled schools in the Trust to access over £1.5 million of Condition Improvement Funding (CIF). The central team contribute to the writing of applications and the monitoring of any subsequent projects to ensure that they are delivered effectively.
This money has been invested to both improve the facilities that children across the Trust access and ensure that our facilities are appropriately maintained. Trust investments are enabling children in Nursery and Reception classes at Jubilee Wood to enjoy a new outside play area and reconfigured internal spaces. A new Computing facility has been developed at New Bradwell School and alarm systems have been updated at Old Stratford.