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Financial Considerations

Academy contribution

The Trust operates a central fund in order to support the Trust Office and its central functions, and to provide a range of shared services. These services are provided to member schools for a contribution of no more than 5%.

Below is an example diagram of services the central fund will provide, alongside optional services at trust, cluster and academy level:

 

Central services

  • Financial systems, procedures, advice/support and internal control reviews
  • HR payroll system, policies, advice and support
  • Core MIS system and support
  • Core school improvement MCSI, HIP, AGB training, core CPD
  • Central office/Executive, statutory requirements (eg external audit), estate management and legal support for central functions

Examples of centrally procured services (optional buy in)

  • Curriculum support
  • IT advice and support, enhanced MIS, connectivity services
  • Procurement, catering, business management, bookkeeping and monthly reporting, H & S
  • General services for parents and pupils

Examples of locally procured services for groups of schools (optional buy in)

  • Grounds, site management, back office functions
  • Specialist staff e.g. family support, behaviour, subject specialists

Individual academy procured services (optional)

  • Wider curriculum support
  • Additional CPD
  • Bespoke services for families, parents  and pupils
  • Equipment and resources etc including IT

 

The Trust endeavours to keep central overheads as low as possible and to secure favourable rates through its negotiating power and expertise for services that will be available should schools wish to take advantage of those rates.

Due diligence

The HfL MAT draws upon and commissions staff with expertise and current knowledge to conduct a range of due diligence work to assess individual schools prior to their admission, including work on education/curriculum performance, financial projections, the status of the school’s property and assets, the position of the school’s LGPS funding, and the accuracy of pupil number projections. Based upon the results of this work, the financial sustainability of applicant schools will be assessed against a scorecard. This scorecard will examine 3-5 year financial projections, sensitivities around pupil numbers, ratios around salary spend on teaching staff, TAs and support staff, and forecast requirements for capital funding.

Those schools that meet the requirements of the due diligence test will be admitted to the Trust, while further work will be undertaken with those that do not meet the required standards. This work will focus on the development of an action plan to improve the financial status of the applicant school, to offset risks and to revise financial projections.

It is the intention that, rather than reject from admission to the HfL MAT any maintained school on the grounds of its financial position, the Trust will support all schools in meeting the financial criteria required prior to becoming an academy within the HfL MAT.

Applicant schools will be welcome to join the MAT if agreement can be reached with their local governing body and headteacher to commit to delivering the action plan set out by the Trust, to ensure that the school is financially sustainable. We are confident that, from our experience of this work with schools in Hertfordshire, action plans can be put in place to turn around the financial fortunes of schools in the most challenging circumstances

Shared services

As the number of academies in the HfL MAT increases, and the income of the Trust increases, opportunities will be taken to review the provision of shared services and of back-office services in particular. These reviews will be performed in the context of the Trust’s need to ensure proper use of public funds, and the need to deliver value for money with improved quality in service provision. It is anticipated that the HfL MAT will invest in the provision of some additional central services as the Trust grows, to remove costs from individual academies and provide more efficient and effective services for example site management costs shared across local small schools.

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