Academies (including special academies) are funded on the same basis as maintained schools. They receive annual funding allocations from the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA), the ESFA uses the local authority (LA) formula to calculate [the funding for] mainstream provision, and place-led funding for pupils who attract high needs funding.

Funding allocations and payments to academies are based on an academic year.

What do we get for our 5%?

All academies charge a fee. The average is between 5-10%. The LEARNERs’ Trust charges 5% and provides a comprehensive service to schools. The service we offer releases capacity in your annual budget by paying for services centrally rather than charging individual schools.

The Trust has built a model which provides the capacity for schools to access support at the point of need. Each service (Finance, HR, Facilities) will offer each school uncapped support which will including on-site visits. This allows schools and governors to be proactive in removing barriers and planning for success.

The Trust has partnered with Services4Schools to manage staff for finance, human resources and human facilities.

Service4Schools already supports more than 250 schools including larger Academy Trusts as well as Single Convertor Academies.  This support spreads across several regions and have staff with experience of working for Local Authorities at a senior leadership level as well as professional practitioners that have a wealth of experience of advising and supporting schools.

Services4Schools have close working relationships with both Headteacher Unions – National Association of Headteachers’ (NAHT) and Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) – and the National Governors Association (NGA) which enables the company to plan strategically to ensure that services are tailored to meet the needs of School Leaders and Governors.

School business managers and other leaders can be confident in high quality services dedicated to no more than 18 schools and supported by a talented, professionally qualified, pool of colleagues continues to be outward looking for best practice to offer schools in the Trust.

The main reasons behind this decision are;

  • Staff are recruited by the Trust and employed by Services for Schools so the employment liability doesn’t sit with the Trust
  • There is a guaranteed minimum ratio for each member of staff
  • Whilst the Trust is still small there is not an large outlay of finances paid to resources that are underused
  • The quality of support on offer to schools from an experienced and large market provider with staff recruited from the private and public sector all with the experience of either having worked in a school or have worked providing support and services to schools; this provides a current and in depth experience base
  • Capacity to provide cover and continuity which is a challenge for many Trusts who provide these services internally and employ their own staff

Financial Services through a dedicated patch officer (1:18 school ratio) including;

  • Provide strategic financial planning Trust spreadsheets and coding structure to create efficiency
  • Annual budget setting including medium to long term support
  • Termly budget monitoring and support
  • Reconciliations
  • VAT returns
  • Support in submitting statutory annual returns
  • Links to the Trust’s accounting partner (RSM accountancy) and the Education Funding Agency (EFA)
  • Internal and external audit requirements
  • Financial training for SBMs and other key staff
  • Policies linked to financial controls

Facilities support through a dedicated patch officer (1:18 school ratio) including;

  • Building condition surveys
  • Termly visits to identify areas for progress/ focus
  • Creating of a buildings maintenance and development plan
  • Building condition bids (2x per school annually)
  • Contract negotiations (cleaning/ catering)
  • Fire risk assessments
  • Fixed wire testing
  • Asbestos control

Human Resources support through a dedicated patch officer (1:18 school ratio) including;

  • Absence management

  • Staff well-being
  • Capability and competence support

  • Appraisal quality assurance

  • Personnel records system

  • Interview and safer recruitment support

  • Service level agreements for staff and external partners

Bid Writing (1:36 school ratio)

  • Grants for holidays clubs
  • After-school clubs
  • Curriculum enhancement
  • Community bids
  • Condition improvement (buildings) bids
  • DfE grants

ICT Support (1:6 school ratio)

  • Managed solutions for ICT
  • Network and server management
  • Access to Microsoft qualified engineers
  • Curriculum deployment
  • Website compliance checks
  • Graphic design
  • Poster printing service

Executive Headship/ Challenge Partner (1:6 school ratio)

  • 1/2 day per week
  • Completion of audits and reports
  • Support in all aspects of school leadership including;
    • Developing leadership
    • Improving teaching and learning
    • Relationships with stakeholders
    • Behaviour management
  • Ofsted preparation and inspection support
  • Signposting of support across and beyond the Trust
  • Identification of strengths and potential within each school
  • Self Evaluation and School Improvement Planning
  • Coordination of network meetings for leaders at all levels
  • Coordination of joint school development opportunities

Staff professional development offer

The Trust will provide opportunities for all staff at all schools to have access to professional development and networking opportunities. This is a key are of offer for the Trust as it is committed to improving the quality of teaching and learning through development of staff with a high quality offer.


The Trust will pay for schools to access:

  • Learners First - A wide range of training and development for staff and governors including qualifications for leadership (access to NPQ qualifications for leadership development) and SLE, LLE and NLE access to support schools
  • The School Bus – an electronic resource that supports all aspects of school life with model policies and advice
  • In-house professional development including:
  • 6 senior leader ‘network ½ days’ per annum to work on common priorities
  • 3 middle leader network ½ days per annum to work on leadership and policy development
  • 6 admin network ½ days per annum
  • Safeguarding update
  • Assessment Updates
  • Ofsted Updates
  • ICT Updates
  • Networking for Maths and Literacy coordinators
  • Moderation Meetings




The Trust will provide full support for each school through the academisation process including:

  • All initial meetings with governors and staff
  • Consultation documentation and meeting support
  • Financial requirements – new financial system licences, set up and training, new bank accounts, payroll set up
  • Due diligence on buildings
  • Legal processes including TUPE, commercial land transfers and negotiation of contracts


The top slice will also pay for the following:

  • Access to iAbacus – a school improvement planning tool that links to self evaluation and staff appraisal
  • Venues where events are hosted


What will we save as a result of joining the Trust?

Schools will no longer have to allocate the following expenditure in their annual budget:

  • LA School Improvement Service
  • LA Finance Costs
  • LA Payroll
  • LA HR Costs
  • LA Facilities Management
  • CPD Costs
  • ICT Support Costs
  • Bid Writing Costs


Each school joining the Trust has saved approx. 5-10K depending on their individual charges, local authority and current provision. This will offset 1-2% of the 5% Trust fee.

The Trust will continue to develop cost efficiencies (whilst maintaining/ improving quality) for all schools with regards to contracts and services. Schools are encourages (but free) to opt into these efficiencies. Future efficiencies will include:

  • Photocopier leases
  • ICT Leases
  • Assessment Systems
  • Utilities charges
  • Broadband
  • Catering
  • Cleaning
  • School Meals


What happens to the money that is left in the Trust?

The trust has a responsibility to operate in a financially stable manner and to support all schools in the Trust. The additional financial resources in the trust will allow Trustees to make decisions about allocation additional finances and personnel, offset expenditure and look after all school’s financial stability through the strategic use of resources.

The Trust services and focus will not grow beyond 18 schools which ensures the additional finances are not stretched over a wide number of schools but focused on providing services that will help all 18 schools move provision forward.

The Trustees are not linked to any school in the Trust to make sure that spending decisions are fair and equitable.