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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):


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

Communications and Marketing

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.

Support with connecting to your communities and parents, building your reputation locally as well as supporting you recruit new students. 

Links with the wider Co-op and Community Team

Every Academy must have a Co-op Pioneer, and there are Regional Community Managers supporting academies in achieving our community goals. This 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.