Trust support services

School improvement

The Trust believes that by working together and sharing best practice, teaching staff will be better served and this will improve the experience of all children in our care. There are always areas which can be improved in a school and we will provide a coordinated peer support and CPD programme in consultation with the Headteacher to continually develop school staff, specifically targeted on the needs of each school.

We will encourage all school leaders to contribute to, inform and develop their own school improvement strategies.

We are a relatively new Trust and we have ambitious plans to grow over the next five years into an outstanding, financially robust, and effective Trust which will include Sponsored Academies, Free Schools, University Technical Colleges, Converter Academies and Sixth Form Colleges. New schools have the opportunity to shape the direction of the Trust and play a pivotal role in the way in which the Trust operates. This growth will also create progression opportunities for Headteachers, senior school leaders and other staff within the Trust and SGS Group.

Our current school improvement partner is Pate's Grammar School, Cheltenham. Pate's is one of the highest performing state schools in the Country. When new schools join the Trust their expertise will also be invited to support the Trust schools, or if the new school requires support, then we have a very experienced team which can be leaned upon immediately.

Professional support also brings challenge. This is healthy and helps continuous improvement to take place because this challenge is built upon mutual respect within a strong relationship between all schools in the Trust. By working together, this culture of motivation and of finding creative solutions to the challenges facing us all will be supportive and less risky than working alone.

The Trust will ensure that up-to-the minute performance tracking, benchmarking and data sharing is provided to allow effective decisions to be made. The central team will always be available, rather than relying on one or two staff locally.

Staff Recruitment and Emergency Cover

The Trust will oversee the process of the recruitment of staff, taking the onus away from the School Head. Selection will remain with the Headteacher; however, there will be HR support to advertise and administer the whole recruitment process. Where possible, short-term emergency teaching or corporate cover will be found within the Trust to provide business continuity back-up.

Finance & Management Information

We will ensure that the financial and management information is provided to Headteachers to enable them to make the best decisions possible. Heads will have financial autonomy to make operational decisions, which will be supported by timely, accurate information and overseen by the Trusts Chief Finance Officer.

The IT, MIS and Finance system will be managed centrally by a team of staff which will allow considerable efficiencies in terms of licensing, servicing, staffing and business continuity.

Headteachers, Governors, teaching staff and budget holders will have access to budget reports and data information to allow informed local decisions to be made. The purchasing power of the Trust, including SGS College, will ensure IT investment is maximised and the systems are supported locally but IT staff will have access to a Chief Information Officer and a Head of IT who will provide expert advice and guidance, as required.

The Chief Finance Officer and Head of Finance will support schools as required and will be responsible for ensuring Headteachers and Governors are provided with reports and accounts as required.

The maintenance and updating of financial policies, procedures and systems will be the responsibility of the Trust, freeing up the need for schools to keep these essential services up-to-date.

HR, Commercial and Legal Support

SGS AT will provide expertise in HR, Commercial and Legal matters to maximise the financial position of each school and ensure the Headteacher has the very best advice to cope with the demands of leading a complex organisation. Financial and operational policies and procedures will be developed, maintained and updated for each school by the Trust.

Commercial, Health and Safety and Employment Law advice is provided for all members of the Trust, as required, to ensure that leaders in the Trust make informed decisions.

The Trust will provide payroll, recruitment, appraisal and caseload support for discipline, performance management, staff remuneration and pension advice and guidance to school leaders and staff, as appropriate.

Marketing and Recruitment

The recruitment of pupils and the marketing of each school will be supported by a central marketing team which will advise on marketing matters, support open evenings and school events and will manage the school website and school PR strategy.

The Trust aims to maintain the individuality of each school rather than create a homogenous 'brand'. We feel that schools belonging to the local community should reflect that position and that there is a strength maintaining the familiar wherever possible. Only if the school community feels they require a change in their profile would we support a change.

Leadership and Professional Development

SGS Academy Trust believes that school leadership should remain delegated to Headteachers from an operational perspective, with the Trust ensuring that the policies, procedures and systems remain fit-for-purpose, and delivering the information and advice as and when a Headteacher requires it.

This collegiate approach promotes freedom of decision making and staff are encouraged to be innovative and responsive to the needs of their school rather than adopting a one-size-fits-all homogenous approach dictated by the Trust.

Our Trust will support a School Leaders Network to share best practice and discuss school strategies and advice on a range of topics from perhaps ideas which could influence the strategic direction of the Trust or simply provide a peer support network.

As the Trust grows, leadership opportunities will be created to retain talent and a comprehensive middle and senior leadership and school management programme will be developed. We wish to grow our own leaders and offer staff a progressive career path across the Trust by treating staff with dignity, professional courtesy and entrusting them to make decisions.

SGS Academy Trust The Forest High School Pate's Grammar School

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