Our schools are able to access the advice and support of our central Data Protection Officer (DPO) who acts on behalf of all the academies within our school network . This alleviates the pressure on schools to appoint their own DPO, enabling staff to concentrate on what matters the most – the education and welfare of their students.
As well as providing continued assistance, the DPO undertakes an annual audit of all our school procedures and practices, providing each academy with any recommendations and an ongoing plan regarding their implementation. This helps our schools to act compliantly with relevant guidance and legislation, while enabling them to enhance security, minimise risk and avoid potential fines.
When a school joins our family, the DPO meets with their leadership team to clarify data protection arrangements and provide any required support. We then maintain oversight of a structure of ‘leads’ across the Trust who reinforce data protection practices and procedures at school level.
Each Data Protection Lead acts as the main point of contact for data protection requirements, liaising between school staff and the DPO as appropriate. This structure of leads offers a great upskilling and professional development opportunity for our employees by providing frequent training sessions and practice sharing exercises led by the DPO.
The responsibility for maintenance and upkeep of school buildings is delegated to Academy Councils and Principals, who are supported by our experienced estates team providing quality assurance measures and ensuring that buildings are compliant with guidance and legislation.
Throughout the year, we undertake frequent exercises to support school site staff, including carrying out building surveys, implementing updates, reviewing record keeping, informing on building projects and improving utility contract arrangements.
Aiding schools in the day-to-day maintenance of academy sites, the Trust team save school staff valuable time by providing advice on the management of buildings programmes, resolving land disputes, licence and lease issues, building operational issues, and identifying and securing additional funding.
As well as providing access to a central capital maintenance fund, we support schools in submitting bids for funds for building condition improvement projects, helping to ensure our schools are able to provide effective learning environments and state-of-the-art facilities to their students.
Members of our school network also benefit from a Trust-wide catering contract, enabling students at each school to access healthy, hot and hearty food every day. Our range of central contracts such as this enable all our schools to access a variety of discounted services to enhance their provision.
The principle that underpins our financial structure and support is that, by working in partnership, we can ensure our procurement strategies generate efficiencies, value for money is continuously achieved, and a positive impact on students and staff is attained.
Our central team coordinates the financial activities of each academy in our school network. We nurture best practice and efficiency by standardising processes where appropriate to do so, while giving schools the freedom to manage their own financial affairs.
To relieve the pressure on our schools, services such as statutory and internal auditing, insurances, payroll and management of the accounting system are managed by centrally. By doing this, we work together to achieve economies of scale and save our schools money when buying goods and services.
Our team of financial experts help all academies to manage their budgets effectively and generate surpluses in the medium term, giving school governing bodies and the Trust board confidence in all aspects of a school’s ongoing viability.
All our schools receive regular assistance, including in relation to financial planning, policies and processes, staff restructuring, internal auditing, accurate record keeping, complying with funding agreements, corporate purchasing systems, and implementing legislative updates and changes. By providing schools with this hands-on advice and additional aid, we are able to ensure that school leaders and financial staff are effectively supported and informed.
People are at the centre of everything we do – they are what make our Trust so great! We partner with all our schools to develop, grow, and inspire our colleagues to deliver the highest quality provision to the young people in our schools. Our job is to make sure all our members have the tools, environment, and leadership to help them thrive and reach their potential.
Our team is made up of passionate and experienced HR professionals, recruitment experts, and all-round amazing people. Our Business Partners work collaboratively with our schools, acting as a trusted advisor, coach, conscious and critical friend as needed.
When a school joins our family, we offer unrivalled support in all people related matters, from the basic through to the complex challenges. Each school will be given a dedicated business partner and advisor who helps guide and support them through their journey. We are proud of the continuous growth and development of our leadership teams across the Trust and their management of employees.
We have a wealth of support available to all our leaders and colleagues to both grow confidence in their decision making, but also to increase and improve knowledge of how to lead people willingly and well. Through our HR Hubs, regular communication updates and 1-2-1's we are always there to guide and support our staff teams.
We have regular meetings with our union partners and collaborate with all the main teaching and support staff unions on behalf of our schools, this is to help reduce the workload on our schools and aim to make all areas of the Trust a genuinely wonderful place to work.
We’re dedicated to ensuring students and staff members have access to the latest technologies, enabling them to develop learning environments and teaching practices that keep up with the ever-evolving digital world.
All schools within our Trust have the support of a team of IT professionals who assist them in accessing and implementing the latest tech and devices. Through the support of our IT team, several of our schools have successfully developed top-of-the-range VR facilities and interactive rooms. This modernised approach to teaching has created an inclusive and dynamic learning environment for students, enabling them to learn new skills in a fun and relatable format.
We are proud of the inclusive nature our schools have fostered across the Trust and this is only enhanced by our digital by design approach to learning. Our unique and modern take on learning has caught the attention of many, with some of our schools being named as ‘digital schoolhouses’ in their local area. This means that they are able to support other schools in their area to use advanced technology to benefit even more students.
We’ve seen great progress of our students since developing our digital approaches and want to share this knowledge with others. You can find out more about by clicking the image below:
Maintaining regular student uptake and achieving high levels of community engagement can be a tough and time-consuming challenge for schools – but our team is here to help!
We understand the importance of effectively communicating schools plans, as well as the trials and tribulations that may occur, so we strive to ease the burden wherever possible.
Our marketing team provides support during the onboarding process to ensure the academisation is appropriately communicated to parents, staff, school communities and the press. Once a school has become a member of our family, we don’t insist on any branding changes at the school, such as a change in name, unless they are specifically required. Where there are branding needs, these are identified as part of the onboarding process and our team works closely with school leaders to ensure goals are successfully achieved.
To guarantee schools are marketed as effectively as possible, the Trust team frequently meets with school leaders and relevant staff members to discuss individual school communication needs, as well as host a range of practice sharing and training sessions that reach across all our schools.