Our Core Offer
To support the Trust’s aims, this section outlines the Trust’s core offer to each of its academies
All academies, regardless of their Ofsted rating, will have (in no particular order):
Support from the Trust’s central team
The Trust’s Head of HR leads this area, which includes – but is not limited to:
- strategic HR management for the Trust
- providing a ‘sounding board’ and HR advice and support to Headteachers/Principals and academy-based HR staff to supplement bought in HR support. As the Trust grows, we are planning to bring all HR activity in-house
- a suite of HR policies, procedures and template documents is in place, which are managed (and consulted on with our recognised trade unions through the termly JCNC) centrally
- a reward package, including:
- pay policy (we pay currently pay a Living Wage)
- a reward and recognition framework*
- a trust-wide employee benefits package to help recruit and retain staff, part of which has been funded centrally and part of which is funded on an academy-by-academy basis
- management of national HR-related requirements, for example the apprenticeship levy (which all academies are subject to paying), gender pay gap reporting and public sector equality duty
- lead on recruitment of Headteacher/Principal vacancies, and provide ‘arms-length’ support of other recruitment, for example recruitment brochure & videos, colleague referral scheme**
- provision of centrally-organised training on key topics, for example new policies and safer recruitment
- TUPE consultation, and support to help new academies joining the Trust to adopt our HR policies and procedures. Support for new Headteachers/Principals joining existing academies is also provided.
The Trust’s Director of Finance and Resources leads in the provision, coordination and management of financial services across the Trust, which includes – but is not limited to:
- regular meetings with those responsible for finance in our academies
- a suite of Trust-wide financial policies and procedures;
- the development of the Trust’s financial strategies;
- provision of regular financial performance reports including management accounts and year end audited financial statements;
- management of the internal audit function on behalf of the Board and the management of the external audit activity;
- provision and management of a single payroll service;
- business planning including framework and key assumptions;
- finance monitoring and reporting to Board and academy governing bodies; and
- managing the financial relationships with the regulator including required reporting requirements.
Health & Safety
At present, each academy buys into an SLA with SchoolSHARE which provides Health & Safety advice, support and resources, including an annual audit.
Some Health & Safety policies are in place on a trust-wide basis, others are the responsibility of the individual academy. Longer term, we will look to appoint a Trust-wide Health & Safety professional to support individual academies in this area.
To support strong governance, we currently offer:
- an annual online Governing Body effectiveness review and support with subsequent action plans
- support with Governing Body strategy days, including planning and/or delivery if/as required
- opportunities for Chairs of Local Governing Bodies to participate in the termly Trust Chairs’ Forum ordinarily at 1 Angel Square (travel expenses incurred met centrally)
- Central Trust team presence at every full Governing Body and finance meeting, plus clerking of those meetings
- guidance on producing terms of reference
- guidance on policies to be noted or approved
- guidance on succession planning for governing bodies
- opportunities for governors and Headteachers/Principals and other senior managers to attend the Trust’s annual governor conference at 1 Angel Square (travel expenses incurred met centrally)
- one bespoke governor training session offered at each academy, as required, per academic year. Content will be decided in conjunction with each academy
- termly governor update and development sessions held at 1 Angel Square and/or in Leeds or Stoke
- new governor induction sessions held twice annually at 1 Angel Square and/or in Leeds or Stoke
- access to the Governor Hub, Trust Governor Handbook, copies of training materials, and other useful documents including the DfE’s Governance Handbook
- opportunities for governors to access the National Governors’ Association Gold Package
- provision of governors from the Co-op, including senior leaders
- an annual governance planner
The Trust’s communications team is responsible for creating an effective central communications strategy for the Trust and helping to manage any media enquiries and liaise effectively with the sponsor’s PR team.
Links with the wider Co-op and Co-op Coordinators (Co-Cos)
We expect each academy to appoint a Co-op Coordinator. Recognising the importance each academy’s Co-op Coordinator plays in ensuring Co-op values are at the heart of our work, the Trust funds the TLR for each post and offers support to post holders through training and opportunities to meet together. Academies are expected to release post holders for such events.
The Trust is currently developing a core offer for all its academies building on skills and abilities amongst the Co-op workforce. This offer encompasses the Sponsor’s key themes, Fairtrade for example, and seeks to develop meaningful cross-curricular links to promote pupils’ achievement and personal well-being.
Headteacher/Principal performance management arrangements
These are supported and arranged by the Trust in liaison with the Headteacher/Principal and the Chair of the Governing Body in accordance with Trust policy.
An annual development review
This will provide an opportunity to test out the robustness and accuracy of the academy’s self-evaluation and being ‘Co-op’. The review will be developmental rather than a mini Ofsted and will be led by the academy’s Education Director (or an appointed colleague) in conjunction with the academy’s Headteacher/Principal. Activity will be carried out jointly with members of that academy’s leadership team and may include:
- learning walks
- scrutinies of pupils’ work
- an evaluation of performance information with academy leaders
- discussions with academy leaders at all levels
- discussions with members of the governing body
- a review of Foretel information and action plans emanating from this
- a review of other surveys held by the academy
- a review of documentation.
Following the review, a draft summary record of a visit will be written by the Education Director for the Headteacher/Principal. The Headteacher/Principal will make any necessary amendments and share with the Education Director. Following consideration of these and any amendments that are required, the record will be sent to the Headteacher/Principal and copied to the Chair of the local Governing Body, and the Director of the Trust. Where important strengths are identified, academy leaders will be expected to incorporate these into their revised self-evaluations and shared across the trust. Any areas for development will be included in academy improvement plans.
It is anticipated the review will last for one day but may extend to two days in secondary academies.
In future years, members of the review may include a senior leader from another academy within the Trust. Training will be provided to colleagues undertaking this work.
Half-termly meetings between Headteachers/Principals and, as appropriate, wider leadership teams, and their respective Education Director
These meetings will provide opportunities to discuss:
- the academy’s self-evaluation and progress against improvement plans
- strengths of the academy with the potential of sharing across the Trust
- the academy’s promotion of the Co-op’s values
- examination results (and comparisons when national data is published and validated)
- internal tracking of pupils in other year groups
- CPD requirements, including the deployment of consultants and/or academy-to-academy support and the impact of these
- performance management updates
- risk register
- Trust-wide issues and developments
- issues Headteachers/Principals wish to raise.
Opportunities for Headteachers/Principals and other senior leaders (such as Vice Principals, Deputy Headteachers and/or Heads of School) to attend the termly Trust Forum
Headteachers/Principals are expected to contribute fully to these meetings. The strong leadership of our academies is essential to securing best possible teaching quality and excellent pupil outcomes in terms of academic achievement and personal development.
These meetings are therefore key in providing opportunities to learn from each other through, for example dialogue, sharing best practice and seeking solutions. They also provide opportunities for the Trust to share policy and local and national developments.
These meetings are also opportunities for Headteachers/Principals to help evaluate current Trust practice and shape policies.
The Trust’s CPD programme
An overview of the Trust’s CPD programme for 2017-18 can be found in Appendix 1. The aims of the CPD programme are agreed in advance and based on academy leaders’ ongoing evaluations, identified priorities across the Trust and national developments.
The Trust’s CPD programme makes use of expert consultants and excellent practitioners from our own academies, all excellent facilitators, advisors and reviewers.
Where consultant and/or practitioner visits take place, an important feature of each visit will be the discussion between the consultant/practitioner and the academy leaders about the impact of actions agreed earlier and staff attendance at earlier conferences and meetings. It is therefore important that a senior academy leader is available to join in with the feedback at the end of each visit. These visits are intended to be helpful, supportive and challenging; they are not intended to be mini Ofsted inspections or subject visits.
Further help and support for academies
Further help and support for academies is provided by the Trust through:
- a Trust-wide central data tracking system, supported by the Trust’s data manager, to inform academy improvement, academy support and CPD
- Information, Ofsted news and guidance for example, and monthly Academy and School News Updates via email
- Secondary academies have full access to the Trust’s Raising Achievement Website, and, in particular, to the raising achievement documents within it which include best practice, starter documents for each of the above areas
- Participation in the annual Foretel colleague, parent and student (secondaries only) engagement survey
- an annual Recognition event for staff ordinarily held at 1 Angel Square to celebrate and share success, with awards linked to the Co-op values
- Annual ‘Welcome to the Trust and the Sponsor’ Event held at 1 Angel Square, in late September
- Ofsted inspection framework training led by the Education Directors as required.
- Trust Primary Phase INSET Day. These will take place once every two years on an agreed theme and organised by a working party of academy staff. The theme for October 2017 has been agreed as ‘Well- being’
- the opportunity to be considered for the Trust’s Co-operative Leadership Masters programme, subject to meeting minimum requirements and demonstration of commitment to completing the course
- assistance to staff in accessing other external leadership programmes
- access to the Trust’s Co-operative Secondary Academies Senior Leaders in Education programme
- for academies joining the Trust, a welcome event for new staff held at 1 Angel Square.
Bespoke support for academies
Academies judged by Ofsted to require ‘special measures’, or are deemed to be at risk of ‘special measures’ will receive intensive bespoke support and challenge from the Trust. Examples of this support and challenge, although this list is not exhaustive, may include:
- a meeting within one week of the oral feedback between the academy’s Education Director, the academy’s senior leaders and the academy’s governors to:
- provide assistance in creating a focused and measurable improvement plan with clear lines of accountability
- decide on additional support, additional consultant time, school-to-school support, and visits to other schools/academies to learn from best practice, arranging pupil premium and/or governance reviews for example
- a meeting with the same colleagues within one week of publication of the final report to confirm the above
- weekly visits in the first instance by the academy’s Education Director to ensure the improvement plan is fit for purpose, actions are being taken and impact is being recorded. It is anticipated that the regularity of these visits will reduce over time as leadership capacity improves. A brief written record of visit will be provided and agreed and distributed as above
- a termly progress review led by the Trust’s Education Director in conjunction with the academy’s Headteacher/Principal. Members of the progress review may include a senior leader from another academy within the trust. Activity is likely to follow that highlighted in the annual development review above but will be focused primarily on the areas for improvement recommended by Ofsted.
Academies judged by Ofsted to have ‘serious weaknesses’, or are deemed to be at risk of being judged as having ‘serious weaknesses’ will receive intensive support with the expectation that the progress review will take place approximately six months after the inspection. Because leadership will have been judged to be requiring improvement or better, the expectation is that the regularity of challenge and support will reduce rapidly.
Academies judged by Ofsted to ‘require improvement’ or are deemed to be at risk of being judged as ‘require improvement’ will receive regular support and challenge, for example support with improvement planning, additional consultant or school to school support as appropriate, a pupil premium and/or governance review if required, and at least monthly visits by the academy’s Education Director. A progress review will take place six months following the Ofsted inspection.
Any academy which, through Trust assessment, is in danger of decline, including its apparent commitment to the sponsor or co-operative values and principles will receive regular support and challenge in line with (43) above.
Additional support and challenge would be available to academies that are ‘good’ but having difficulties in improving further.
The Trust is looking into the possibility of developing:
- an NQT induction programme drawing on best practice in our academies and beyond
- a Teaching School
- alternative provision
- a North Manchester sixth form offer