As part of its role in supporting continuous improvement, Merchants’ Academy Trust offers a cost-effective support package which responds to school needs.
The Department for Education (DfE) requires that all of our academies are managed, monitored, challenged and supported to improve by the sponsor. Merchants’ Academy Trust’s services monitor and support all core activities related to school improvement, finance, standards and human resources. As well as DfE requirements, we develop extra services to support our academies, including marketing and ICT. We support schools when they encounter any difficulties related to performance, management, finance or any other issue. Read more about our services:
The Merchants’ Academy Trust governance team make sure academy governance systems are effective and meet legal requirements. With over 100 years experience in the running and Governance of a wide range of schools from independent to Academies, Free Schools and Special Schools, the Trust’s sponsor the Society of Merchant Venturers, is renowned for its high quality and depth of governance, expertise and support to schools.
School governors make up the largest voluntary organisation in the country. Academy governors are part of a team, working closely with the Principal. The governing body is generally responsible for the conduct of the Academy with a view to promoting high standards of educational achievement and behaviour. Governance ensures that:
- All governing bodies execute their statutory legal obligations in all aspects of governance effectively.
- Communications between individual academies, their boards and the Trust is effective and transparent.
- All governors and/or board members understand their role and know how to ask for help if it is required.
- An agreed timetable for meetings and record collation is in place, and deadlines are established which support all aspects of governance and clear records are kept of all meetings.
Our Finance Team co-ordinate the financial activities of each Academy, helping standardise processes (to nurture efficiency and best practice), while giving each Academy the freedom to manage their own affairs. We also provide financial advice and support to our ‘partner’ schools.
We manage certain financial services centrally (such as auditing, payroll and accounting.) In this way we work together to achieve economies of scale, saving money when buying goods and services. We are keen to ensure that our Academies manage their budgets effectively, generate surpluses in the medium term giving Merchants’ Academy Trust confidence in all aspects of their ongoing viability. The Finance Team ensures that:
- Financial records in all Academies are accurate, transparent, kept up to date on a timely basis and of a high quality.
- Finance Officers in each Academy are working effectively and are able to support their Principals, senior leadership teams and Governing Bodies.
- Corporate purchasing systems result in measurable year on year financial savings.
Merchants’ Academy Trust recognises that our people are our greatest asset. Our HR Team works closely on a wide range of 'people' issues, helping to achieve the best from staff and ultimately the best outcomes for students.
Our HR Team ensures
- Access consistent, up to date HR advice quickly
- Support in dealing with complex HR issues
- Hands on support if required, e.g. with trade union negotiation/consultation or complex case work
- Avoidance costly legal disputes, claims and proceedings
- Access quality training and development for HR staff from ‘partner’ schools outside of the Trust
ICT and learning technologies
Merchants’ Academy Trust has extensive expertise in supporting ICT needs, beginning with a thorough review of how technology might enhance teaching and learning. We then specify, source and install the most appropriate infrastructure and equipment for your needs and ensure its on-going management is cost-effective and educationally valuable.
We believe that using ICT to personalise and develop learning should be a continual process, that’s why we offer ongoing advice, information and training so staff and students get maximum benefit from the investment. Our ICT support ensures that:
- All academies have their own vision for ICT and how it supports learning
- ICT plans in academies have clear targets aligned to their ICT vision and curriculum
- Technical advice is given in a non-technical format.
- There is clear guidance on ICT strategy and procurement.
- There are opportunities for sharing good practice.
- Our Academies achieve their ICT vision within the context of managed services in local authorities.
Marketing and Communications
Schools aren't businesses but they do operate in a competitive world, so it's important to have a well-developed brand and a marketing plan which reaches out to the right people. Merchants’ Academy Trust has it’s own Creative Services Team and retained Communications Director and a Media and Press Officer.
Merchants’ Academy Trust ensures that our Academies are using effective marketing strategies which support corporate and individual branding and student recruitment as well as promotion of the reputation of the Trust’s network as a whole.
Our team can handle any marketing, advertising or PR challenge quickly, efficiently and to budget. Activities might include:
- Supporting our Academies to develop their prospectus and other promotional materials including design and texts
- Planning and booking advertising
- Providing guidance relating to the Academy brand and key messages
- Monitoring press coverage and offering support with the media where needed
- Supporting student recruitment events and providing documented feedback
- Offering support on effective approaches to student or staff recruitment