Supporting DGAT Schools

The Trust provides a range of support to its family of academies.  In order to ensure that schools can remain focused on school effectiveness and educational outcomes for children, this includes undertaking many of the financial and business administrative functions which are associated with conversion to academy status.

Support from the Trust falls broadly into five categories:

School Effectiveness

  • Termly visits from an Academy Development Partner to work with the Principal and governors on academy priorities, providing support and challenge
  • Frequent visits from the Head of School Improvement to provide support and challenge, coaching, mentoring and advice in all aspects of the school’s work.
  • Joint monitoring
  • Pastoral support for Headteachers
  • Annual safeguarding audit
  • Support with preparation for Ofsted and SIAMS visits and collation of self-evaluation documentation
  • Moderation across the Trust
  • Access to a Pupil Premium Champion providing support for the progress of disadvantaged pupils
  • Networking opportunities for all staff across DGAT academies, including half-termly Principals’ meetings to discuss shared work and priorities through internal and external providers
  • Undertaking of all Headteachers/Principals performance management
  • Philosophy for Children (P4C) training for all school staff
  • Peer reviews and joint work scrutiny
  • Support in evaluating the impact of work in developing outstanding practice, including production of template documentation and written reports for Principals and governors
  • Provision of policies including safeguarding
  • Support, training and continued professional development, including an annual Trust conference for all staff
  • SIAMS support and mid-term monitoring visits
  • Attendance at Diocesan training courses for Christian character and academy-based inset, as required
  • Opportunities for pupils to work together with children from other Trust academies
  • Pupil tracking software (Target Tracker), training, support and data migration

Finance and Business

  • Challenge and support to Principals and governing bodies with regard to establishing long term (5 year) financial forecasts
  • Bespoke finance package, including all annual finance software licences and budget setting software
  • Ongoing training and support on all financial software, procedures and reporting by a dedicated member of the central team
  • Practical support with budget preparation and management, including monthly or bimonthly budget meetings with the Principal
  • Regular updates and briefings on all financial and business related matters, including, for example, changes to national pay scales and National Insurance rates
  • Management of all month end procedures and submissions, including VAT returns
  • Preparation of monthly reports to Principals, Local Governing Body and the Trust
  • Administration of the Local Government Pension Scheme and Teachers’ Pension Scheme, including completing annual certificates and audit administration
  • Management of procurement, best value and contract negotiations
  • Applications for additional grants and funding, as opportunities arise
  • Preparation and filing of  annual Statutory Accounts for the Trust
  • Regularity Audit
  • Preparation and submission of the Statement of Recommended Practice (SORP) – charity accounts
  • Administration for all Actuarial Valuations
  • Completion and submission of all reports required by the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) and Department for Education (DfE), including budget forecasts
  • Compliance checks on all financial and business functions
  • Setting up and maintaining all bank accounts
  • Membership to the Gloucestershire Association of School Business Managers
  • School Business Management Forum
  • Membership to the ‘School Bus’
  • Central finance function
  • Administration and subsidy of the Apprenticeship Levy

Premises and Insurance

  • Support in developing a strategic response to estate management and premises development
  • Writing, submission and tendering for all capital funding and projects
  • Negotiation, set-up and liaison for all insurance arrangements, including land and buildings
  • Tendering, procurement and management of all capital projects
  • Health and Safety compliance checks
  • Emergency planning and implementation

Human Resources and Legal

  • Conversion support, including TUPE consultation, the preparation of the Commercial Transfer Agreement, Land Transfer Agreements and Funding Agreement
  • Development of Trust-wide HR policies and procedures
  • Union negotiation
  • Employee Assistance Programme for all staff
  • HR support
  • Occupational Health
  • DBS online checks and associated costs
  • Principal and general staffing recruitment support including contract negotiation
  • Negotiations with the Local Authority, DfE and Regional Schools’ Commissioner, as required
  • Data Protection Officer provision
  • Philosophy for Children training for all classroom based staff
  • Secondment opportunities and arrangements

Governance

  • Processing of appointments for governors (including foundation appointments)
  • National Governor Association (NGA) membership
  • Chair of Governors’ Forum
  • Advice and support regarding admissions
  • Training opportunities for governors
  • Support with Principal’s performance management and preparation of all performance management template documentation
  • Support with the writing of significant change business cases, as required
  • Regular governor’s briefing sheets to ensure governors are kept abreast of policy and legislative developments, for examples changes to national funding arrangements
  • Attendance at Governor meetings when requested
  • Policy development

In order for schools to benefit from membership of DGAT we will:

  • ensure schools learn from one another, building shared capacity so that educational success is a reality for every child;
  • encourage new and creative opportunities to develop outstanding practice within a collaborative framework which mitigates the risk of working in isolation;
  • support schools in evaluating the impact of their work in developing outstanding practice which may be different from that encountered elsewhere;
  • ensure schools remain focused on educational priorities by supporting all financial, ‘back-office’ and business support functions;
  • support a strategic approach to estate management, premises development and admissions;
  • ensure that schools are confident and outward-facing in all that they do, building strong, effective partnerships within and beyond the immediate communities they serve;
  • support networks of schools, forging new relationships with those for whom the Church of England ethos could act as a real catalyst for securing improvement;
  • develop fully inclusive schools and, in case of church schools, to promote and enhance their Christian distinctiveness.

The Diocese of Gloucester Academies Trust will promote the notion of seeking local solutions to school improvement. This entails learning from the success of excellent schools, drawing on DGAT expertise and our team of consultants, working alongside Local Authorities and using, when necessary, external commercial providers.