TEST is developing expertise in supporting education colleagues in delivering Christian education from early years to further education within their local communities; and is able to extend this competence to other schools who also wish to become academies.
TEST has identified 5 main advantages to schools who may wish to join:
TEST provides clear and consistent strategy and vision across schools. This will lead to the sharing of good practice and the streamlining of efforts to secure on-going school improvement. This also enables us to better plan the educational journey of children from nursery, primary, secondary and sixth form or college towards employment.
Sharing of resources
TEST has the ability to pool resources such as staff, curriculum expertise and other services. Since there is a single employer, the staff are able to work across the whole group rather than in just one setting. This can improve the quality of staffing and retain expertise as well as improving the delivery of intervention activities. Schools within TEST can also benefit from the use of shared assets.
Economies of scale
Economies of scale for the schools in TEST will reduce their overall costs, thus providing greater value for money. We expect that we will be able to raise the standards of administrative support, ICT procurement and other back office activities for all academies in TEST as well as provide savings on financial reporting. TEST aims to provide economies of scale so that each Academy can reduce its operating costs.
The Board of Directors will establish at each Academy, a Local Governing Body (LGB) and a Headteacher who will retain the responsibility for day-to-day leadership and operational management. The LGB and Headteacher would play a key role in the leadership and management of TEST. For example, each Principal could have Trust-wide responsibilities. In our local communities we encourage people to be active in the running of their local school. TEST would tap in to a wide range of stakeholders using the LGB.
TEST has a healthy financial position. The prudent use of these funds has resulted in capital developments such as refurbishments as well as providing enhanced pay and benefits for staff (e.g. salary sacrifice scheme and medical benefits). This has allowed it to retain and attract the very best staff using the Academy pay freedoms. These financial strengths will be shared with all the Academies in the group. TEST has also already established an Audit Committee. This will be extended to cover all the Academies to ensure the security of public funds is safeguarded centrally. This Audit Committee provides a means of accountability back to the TEST Board. The CEO acts as chief accounting officer providing one point of contact over the group of Academies.