Finance & Business
The Director of Finance & Business is an experienced Chartered Accountant and ensures that the finance team works effectively to provide exemplary financial management, planning and control across the Trust. Tasks are carefully planned to ensure we meet all external submission requirements. All budget holders receive high-quality management information to aid robust decision making.
The team has a strong business partnering approach and will meet with budget holders and other key stakeholders regularly to provide information, guidance and training.
We are a creative and agile bunch, happy to look beyond the conventional offering if it’s what our community needs. We are therefore now offering wider services, supported by our Finance & Business team.
In particular, we recognised the need for high-quality childcare provision to give children a strong start in Early Years Foundation stage and also to support families where parents are working or have other commitments.
Since September 2019, we have had a Two Rivers Childcare branch open at Twynham Primary School, offering school-hours places for children aged 3-4, wraparound care for pupils at the school and (from Summer 2020) a holiday club. Whilst the childcare staff have the direct relationship with parents; the Core Services team support with recruitment / contracts and with the back-office functions such as billing and system administration.
Twynham Learning schools benefit from a Trust-wide contract with Harrison Catering Services, providing delicious and nutritious food for our students (and staff!).
Core Services staff provide a centralised procurement function which negotiates discounts on annual SLAs and other Trust-wide purchases.
Our Facilities lead is an experienced property practitioner and ensures that we are compliant, meeting all Health & Safety requirements, and that we maintain and develop our estate to meet the changing needs of the organisation.
As the professional lead for site-based facilities staff; the Facilities Manager supports school leaders with appraisal and development planning for Site Managers and Caretakers. Site Managers / Caretakers are also brought together regularly to receive refresher training, keep up to date with legislative changes, agree new ways of working and to support one another generally. The team also oversee resolution of helpdesk tickets and will audit regularly to ensure that statutory checks have been completed.
In addition, schools have access to support to procure contracts in a compliant manner and ensuring best value.
As a MAT, we benefit from an automatic capital grant allocation which enables us to make more substantial changes to land and buildings. We keep a watch on building condition and organisational changes to ensure that the capital funding is allocated to make greatest impact on teaching and learning. We arrange whatever work is required to keep our premises fit for purpose; safe, warm and dry. School leaders steer the priorities but these capital projects are designed, procured and delivered for them by the central team.
Trust schools retain flexibility in determining the approach for much of their IT provision but really benefit from the technical expertise of our in-house IT team to be sure they make the right decisions. Our IT Manager delivers overarching infrastructure for the benefit of the whole Trust and ensures that the necessary preventative steps are taken to deliver a robust network to our staff and students.
Site-based IT staff, whilst managed locally, have the benefit of a professional lead to oversee their development and provide technical advice – as well as the economies of scale from the fundamental infrastructure being standardised. The central IT team can be commissioned by individual Trust schools to provide consultancy on their IT projects or just authorise the changes, depending on the circumstances.
Schools have assistance in planning the spend of their IT budget lines and their DFC and benefit from Trust-wide schemes funded centrally which currently include:
- TheSchoolBus – an online resource, giving sector-specific guidance and toolkit
- Parago – a system to support inventory, compliance checks, risk assessment etc
Schools can also access centrally-procured contracts such as copier / printer provision.
Whilst we do outsource some back-office functions such as payroll, most of our HR services are now in-house, giving our colleagues the benefit of top-quality advice from someone who really knows and understands them.
Our HR Manager offers invaluable support to Headteachers and leaders throughout the Trust, giving sound advice on how to recruit high-calibre staff within a compliant framework, how to effectively manage employment matters to a positive resolution and how to support staff through major life events and illness. The HR specialists also keep the wheels turning seamlessly on the routine issues – which are far from routine to our staff – items such as ensuring the monthly payroll run is checked and authorised and ensuring that pay rises are applied in a timely fashion.
The team also focusses on Staff Wellbeing; ensuring that the Trust is a fair and positive place to work. They produce policy and procedure to give everyone a good picture of how things should be and so that we all operate under the same conditions.