Central Operational Services
The central team is led by Hazel Wale, an established educational professional with vast experience in the operational functions within schools. She leads a highly trained team based on an “Ask the Expert” model whereby specialists are in post to support the workings of the schools and the Trust in a range of key areas.
The central hub has a wealth of knowledge and expertise that is used to support the learning and working environment across the Trust. SET hosts events for both staff and governors, offering dedicated CPD and opportunities to meet and share best practice with colleagues across the Trust.
Administration and Data
Our very experienced Chief Information Officer oversees the strategic direction and day to day admin provision within our SET schools. Their guidance and support for the office managers across the Trust enable them and their teams to work effectively and efficiently, and very much feel supported.
Data administration is now offered as a centralised service to Trust schools, providing support for an effective data collection service. Our central team is able to generate and distribute data collection forms, monitor their return, support the administrative input of assessment and attainment data and then to analyse and manipulate all inputted data at a summary level for each school.
Each school has a SOAP (school on a page) data sheet that is completed termly to give the Trust Board and local Governing Bodies an up-to-date snapshot of a wide range of indicators about that school’s performance - a highly effective monitoring device for all school leaders.
The Scholars’ Education Trust knows that poor attendance can have a devastating impact on pupils’ attainment and progress. Attendance is a key a Trust focus with aspirational attendance targets set for each school. All SET schools were above national averages in their attendance for 2021/22 and we are focussed on ensuring we maintain those excellent standards.
Attendance assistants, based in each school, are supported by our highly qualified and skilled Trust Attendance Manager, who works with the schools to ensure well documented processes and practices together with providing on-site and remote access support for more complex cases, staff training, school assemblies, tutor group visits, and punctuality checks – the list is endless and effective!
SET ‘s Chief Finance Officer is a fully qualified accountant with over 20 years’ experience and a true understanding of educational finance and budgeting. Under their leadership, SET offers a fully centralised finance provision with each schools’ accounts reflecting their own GAG income with other income and expenditure lines. Monthly accounts are produced for head teachers with a face-to-face meeting to talk them through their accounts and identify any risks and opportunities to their school’s financial health going forwards. Heads tell us how much they appreciate this dedicated time and expert support. They also know that the finance team is immediately contactable for any unforeseen questions or occurrences.
SET accounts are audited annually by externally appointed auditors and termly by internal auditors who look at systems and structure.
The Trust Estates Manager is responsible for the oversight of the estate management of the schools in the Trust. He works with and oversees the work of the site teams at each school ensuring that health & safety compliance, management of school estates projects, asset management and the tracking of premises linked budgets are to a high standard.
The Estates Manager also oversees capital projects across the Trust, funded by both the SCA and school revenue funding, based on preventative and reactive maintenance and school agreed improvement projects. There is a real focus on ensuring value for money and sustainability. The Estates Manager is part of the Trust’s sustainability working party and as part of that work is keen to build on the decarbonisation grants totalling £1.2m already received by the Trust which supported the installation of PV panels, LED lighting together with water and energy saving devices.
The HR Manager and her team offer a comprehensive package of support for all the SET schools, including in the following areas:
- Recruitment – from advert, to shortlist, compliance checks, interview programmes and the issuing of contracts. They ensure that prospective candidates are fully informed and supported through the recruitment process to successful outcome, with schools able to be confident that all recruitment checks and pre start date arrangements will have been completed.
- SCR – the single central record is maintained and monitored centrally, with Heads and nominated personnel able to access the records online, together with their school’s overall compliance rating. This enables Heads and Chairs of Governors to be updated and informed, and above all confident that this key area is in safe hands.
- HR policies are maintained centrally and regularly sent to Heads, SLT and governors for review, with comments noted for Trust Board consideration before publication.
- General HR support- staff wellbeing, absence monitoring and support, performance management, maternity and paternity arrangements – the list goes on, our team are able to answer all the detailed questions that can prove time-consuming and confusing for schools!
PLEASE NOTE: SET follows both the Burgundy and Green books.
IT and Digital Technology
IT and Digital Technology are growing areas in all schools, and SET schools are no exception. The Director of IT works with the SET Headteachers to oversee the strategic direction of their IT provision and also oversees the 1:1 device programmes in our secondary schools. All schools have an on-site technician (for primary schools this may be on a shared basis) to address their IT queries, issues or wishes. The Director of IT and Deputy Director of IT support this work either by on-site visits or remote access, whichever is the more effective.
Samuel Ryder Academy is an Apple Distinguished School, one of fewer than 800 globally, and is also the Regional Training Centre for Hertfordshire on Apple Technology in the classroom. iPad technology has revolutionised the way our staff teach across the curriculum, impacting both student engagement and outcomes.
SET manages its own payroll service under the direction of a highly experienced payroll manager and team. Any member of staff with a query is able contact the team directly and receive an answer to their question; new staff are paid promptly and, most importantly, all staff are paid accurately and on time. The payroll team also manage all requirements under the Teaching Pension Scheme (TPS) and the support staff pension scheme (LPP) linked to the local authority the school sits under, and as such are a font of knowledge.
SET staff often comment on how much they appreciate being able to talk to a colleague rather than the anonymous representative of an external provider when they have a query.