Our Trust offer
How we work together
What is The Charter Schools Educational Trust central offer for schools looking to join us?
Our central offer is developed collaboratively with our headteachers and will continue to develop and evolve over time and as the Trust grows. Whilst we believe that each school serves its own community and should retain their autonomy, we also recognise the value unlocked by our schools working collaboratively, as well as the Trust central team providing support and expertise which allows school leaders to focus on delivering the very best outcomes for their children.
Our offer includes the following:
Working together as a family of schools, sharing what works, giving of our expertise and learning from each other sit at the heart of our school improvement offer. Our teaching school alliance and EEF research support innovation help teachers and leaders to explore new ideas and keep at the forefront of educational thinking.
Each school also receives support and challenge from our National Leaders of Education. The school improvement support is planned by the headteachers in collaboration with the CEO. The Trust provides and facilitates the following key areas:
- Support for each school regarding strategic planning and managing change – the Trust Schools include Ofsted outstanding academies serving all phases of learning, and a free school.
- A whole school audit, regular data reviews and bespoke self-evaluation activities each term for every school. Our headteachers undertake this work alongside an NLE and this helps us grow leadership capacity within the Trust.
- Guidance will be provided when writing key documents such as the Self Evaluation summary and School Development Plans.
- Opportunity for all schools and their leaders to help shape strategic policy development and lead projects within the Trust.
- Pupil Premium reviews as appropriate, led by our NLEs.
- Access to Ofsted trained staff and support for inspection.
- Support with performance management. Headteacher Performance Management is conducted by the Trust alongside Local Governors.
- Benchmarking of standards, data analysis, target setting and action planning, including the tracking of progress and development of data dashboards.
- High quality professional development for all staff including paid membership of London South Teaching School Alliance.
- An opportunity to take part in an invitational peer review alongside other schools in the London South Teaching School Alliance
- Network of partnerships across the trust focused on staff development including Charles Dickens Research School and our Challenge Partners Hub.
- Regular updates outlining new ideas/best practice across the Trust.
- Shared expertise and targeted support to enable exceptional standards of teaching and learning from our Trust SLEs
We understand as a Trust the importance of outstanding leadership, both at school and local governance level. We know the difference this makes to a school and therefore we place great emphasis on this in our Trust. Looking after our people well means we recruit, retain and grow an outstanding team.
- School Leaders have priority access to London South TSA training which include NPQSL and NPQML as well as bespoke sessions for headteachers, executive headteachers, female leaders and teachers who are from minority ethnic backgrounds.
- Every school takes part in a Peer Review facilitated by London South Teaching School Alliance and focused on an area of school improvement chosen by the school.
- Access to coaching and mentoring from our National Leaders.
- The opportunity to become accredited system leaders eg. SLE
- Regular meetings of the Executive Team to shape the future direction of the Trust.
Strong governance at all levels of the Trust is essential. The key role of the local governing bodies is to support and challenge headteachers in order to ensure pupils receive the best possible education. Local governors also need support and guidance and the Trust central team provides this through:
- Governor skills audits and succession planning
- Local Governors to have access to our NGA training portal and a full Governor training programme provided by Southwark governor services. Supported by our Head of Governance local governors are developed where necessary so they can provide effective support and challenge and fulfil their key functions.
- Support for local governors in the build-up to inspection and regular updates on any changes to Ofsted Frameworks and any statutory requirements.
- Support with governor recruitment and elections
- Support for complaints and exclusion panels.
- Governor induction and ongoing training and support from our Head of Governance,
- Opportunities for local governors to meet with CEO/Chair of Trustees to feedback key local issues.
- Quality assurance of local governance with follow up training and support from an NLG (National Leader of Governance) as needed.
- Updates and support with statutory policy and audit compliance
- Strategic governance calendar and agenda planning
- Support with clerking services
Recruiting, growing and retaining great people are key to our success. We provide a wealth of knowledge, expertise and support in this key area for schools including:
- Support with Payroll processing (using our payroll provider Strictly Education)
- All statutory HR policies.
- Support with safeguarding and regular audit of the schools Single Central Register.
- Regular updates outlining any changes to statutory duties regarding safeguarding.
- Simple and effective systems to use.
- Procedures for managing staff welfare, absence and attendance.
- Commitment to becoming an employer of choice which understands staff workload and wellbeing and actively does something about this – Our schools have all embarked on a staff workload project with DFE workload school-based lead, Jemima Rhys-Evans (director of Charles Dickens Research School)
- Issuing of employment contracts to new employees.
- Recruitment support when required.
- Pension completion and return.
- Capability process and procedures.
- Attendance at any formal sickness meetings.
- Management of the recruitment checks prior to the start of appointment.
- HR representation at any trade union meetings, consultation and negotiation.
- Advice on staffing restructures.
Each school contributes 3.15% of their GAG funding to support school improvement objectives and Trust central services. The Trust will seek out best value on contracts for all our schools so we can see the benefit of working together as a team in a larger group. The Trust will also ensure we fulfil our reporting requirements as set out by the ESFA.
- Ensuring compliance with the funding agreement (Master and Supplemental).
- Ensuring compliance with the Academies Financial Handbook issued by the ESFA annually.
- Ensuring all policies relating to finance are compliant and implemented.
- Ensuring the Trust financial procedures manual is compliant and implemented appropriately.
- Day to day support with VAT accounting, submission of monthly returns to HMRC and dealing with queries raised by HMRC.
- Support for capital funding bids and management of capital projects.
- Strategic procurement reviews to ensure best value and economies of scale across the Trust.
- Insurance arrangements, including procurement of insurance cover for the Trust.
- Management of banking facilities for the Trust.
- Preparation of management reporting for the Trust Board.
- Support schools with annual budget setting and three to five-year financial planning models and tools.
- Budget review meetings with schools. (Termly)
- Arrangement and management of internal audits, including reporting to the Trust Board and ensuring recommendations are implemented.
- Arrange annual external audit of the Trust.
- Provide training for schools as required.
- Preparation of DFE/ESFA financial returns.
- Prepare annual financial statements to ensure compliance with the Academies Accounts Direction issued by the ESFA annually.
- Submission of annual financial statements to the ESFA and Companies House.
- Ensure corporation tax returns and payments are accurately completed and submitted on time.
Estates and Health and Safety
As a Trust we are committed to providing high quality environments for our children and staff that are safe places to learn. The Trust as the employer, retains corporate responsibility for health and safety and will provide strategic support and specific expertise in:
- All health and safety related policies.
- Quality assure all health and safety procedures including;
- Asbestos, Legionella and Fire Alarm checking
- Risk assessing
- Educational Visits
- Electrical testing including PAT tests
- Quality assure the site management and development plans.
- Ensure compliance with food standards.
- Review and develop bids from academies for Capital Expenditure based on health and safety related issues.
- Access to online training for Health and Safety for school employees.
- Secure best value for a range of services such as Gas and Electricity.
Wider Opportunities for Children
Finally, the most important thing for us is to ensure our children receive the very best education. The core purpose of our Trust is to transform the lives of children and young people through the power of inclusive education.
As a Trust, we will provide a number of opportunities centrally and also our schools are committed to share expertise, collaborate and support each other in line with our core values: Excellence, Inclusion, Community. Some examples are below:
- We have specialists in the effective delivery of Duke of Edinburgh awards, and we can support with the set-up of this in your school
- We have an outdoor learning specialist who is available to deliver forest school training to your school
- Every school will have the opportunity to take part in a Citizens UK community leaders project – helping develop change makers for our community
- Mental Health and Emotional Intelligence training can be provided for each school.
- Wellbeing and Nurture provision – there are excellent examples of nurture provision across the schools that can be shared.
- Shared bank of learning resources for staff will be set up and the opportunity to collaborate with teachers at other schools via subject hubs.
- Sport competitions and inter–school sports sessions.
- Wide range of peripatetic music opportunities across the schools.
- Shared facilities for school and community events.