info@elliotfoundation.co.uk

FAQs

What is The Elliot Foundation

The Elliot Foundation is an educational charity established to ensure that children remain at that centre of decision making within schools. An approved Department for Education academy sponsor, it oversees the running of the Elliot Foundation Academies Trust.

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What is The Elliot Foundation Academies Trust

The Elliot Foundation Academies Trust is a registered company limited by guarantee. It has been set up in order to sponsor schools to become Academies. It draws its ethos and direction from the Elliot Foundation.

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Why the name?

The Elliot Foundation derives its name from Elliot Jonathan Whalley. Elliot died in infancy – an unfulfilled future. In Elliot’s name, the Foundation exists to ensure that the futures of other Children are fulfilled.

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How many schools might join the Elliot Foundation Academies Trust?

The limit to our ambition for growth is the point where our services to the schools who are already members of the Trust are challenged. Our ideal is to stop growing before we hit this point.

Our original plan was to aim for over 100 primary schools but we will not allow the Trust to grow to a point beyond which its core values - nor the educational benefits that derive from them - are compromised.

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What are the criteria for schools joining the Elliot Foundation Academies Trust?

Any school may apply but in order to protect the interests of the schools already in the Trust, the Board may defer entry in certain cases where due diligence criteria are not met. See here for more details

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Who pays the salaries for Elliot Foundation staff, how is this generated?

The founders (Dr. Caroline Whalley and Henry Bedford) have never and will never take a salary or fees from the Elliot Foundation.

Moreover they have together donated over £350,000 to set up the charity. The Trust’s operational directors worked pro bono for six months to help create the foundation. Once the first academies were open their costs and expenses were covered by charitable fundraising and a portion of the 5% management charge levied on academies.

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Just how ‘independent’ is each academy?

Each academy has its own governing body to which full powers for day-to-day running are delegated by The Elliot Foundation Academies Trust. This includes decisions on the curriculum, pedagogical approaches and staffing. The Elliot Foundation Academies Trust retains the right to step in where necessary – for example if the quality of the teaching provision at the school is at risk. It may also step in at the point that a school chooses to join the Trust as part of an agreed support programme.

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Elliot Foundation Blog

We constantly reflect on how we can do things better. We now have a blog for our Officers and Principals to think aloud and it can be found in “about us”

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Will there be any common branding? Logos? Mottos? Uniform?

As a minimum there will be recognition and signage to state that the new Academy is an Elliot Foundation Academy. There will be discussions with each school to determine what is most appropriate in the school’s local circumstances.

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What changes may occur to local governing bodies?

Each academy has a local governing body. They are slim, focused and effective. There will be 11 governors - 6 appointed by the Trust, the principal, 2 parent members (elected), 1 staff member and 1 community member. The emphasis will be on skills and commitment. Existing governors may be appointed as foundation governors – indeed the Trust firmly believes that such governors should come from the local community.

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Who agrees the priorities for the Academy?

The Principal, alongside their Elliot Foundation Regional Director, set the priorities for the academy each year. These are then monitored by the local governing body and the Trust’s Standards Committee.

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Who are Elliot Foundation Regional Directors? What is their role?

The Elliot Foundation employs Regional Directors to ensure that each community of schools runs itself harmoniously. Without exception, Regional Directors will have extensive experience of the local area - often as a former headteacher. This allows them to draw on local provision and expertise, something central to our principle of each family of schools being fully interactive with the surrounding community. In addition, the presence of a Regional Director cements the close relationship between academies and the central Elliot Foundation. This is key to ensuring that the latter is at all times focused on the greatest needs of its teachers and students.

We currently have 3 clusters located in the West Midlands, East Anglia and London. Travis Latham currently supports our West Midland and East Anglia schools. Travis is an ex Principal who is also trained as an OFSTED inspector. Simon Adams supports our London region and has extensive experience which is rooted in school improvement through the work he has completed as an OFSTED inspector, ex Head Teacher and local authority improvement adviser.

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What efforts have been made by the Elliot Foundation to build a relationship with trade unions?

The Elliot Foundation is proud to be the only multi-academy trust endorsed by the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT). Kathryn James, NAHT Director for Policy and Campaigns, is a member of the Elliot Foundation board - ensuring that their voice plays a key role in the shaping of our philosophy.

More broadly, the Elliot Foundation has consulted with national officers from teaching and support staff professional associations and trade unions on a ‘National Agreement for Trade Union Recognition’. This was approved by officers.

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Will the Trust impose a common software application for finance and other areas? If so, what will it be?

Following an investigation led by Principals, Elliot Foundation Academies have elected to implement the ScholarPack MIS system. Cloud-based and equipped with a wide range services that can be tailored to meet the needs of each individual school, ScholarPack was deemed the best solution to the needs of academies.

All schools joining the Elliot Foundation will be assisted by ScholarPack in replacing their incumbent MIS package. This will not be rushed, but rather taken at the schools pace to ensure that proper training takes place and individual needs are addressed.

With regards to Finance, all Elliot Foundation Academies use the PS Financials system. This is easy to use and designed specifically for academies. As with ScholarPack both the Elliot Foundation and PS Financials will work with academies to implement and train staff on this system.

It should be noted that neither the Elliot Foundation nor any of its employees have any other relationship or agreement with either PS Financials or ScholarPack. The systems above have been procured on the basis that they are best systems available. We are proud to say that our academies take the absolute lead in such procurement processes.

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Who makes the decision whether schools can join?

The decision is taken by the governing body of the school in question, along with the Secretary of State and the operational board of the Elliot Foundation Academies Trust.

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What will be the impact on our budget in year 1 and subsequently?

This depends on the circumstances of each case – but generally each Elliot Foundation academy should have the same budget as a local authority counterpart. The funding provided by the government for each academy is calculated in the same way as for other schools in the local authority. Though there is a variation between local authorities, the funding withheld by LAs is almost always larger than the comparable 5% management charge levied by the Elliot Foundation Academies Trust.

Funding for education and schools is declining. With the removal of the Education Services Grant from Sept 2017, it is highly likely that schools becoming academies will feel marginally worse off.

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What audit arrangements will be in place?

A condition of the Funding Agreement is that the Elliot Foundation Academies Trust appoints an Accounting Officer and undertakes an annual independent audit. In addition, the Trust is to appoint a Responsible Officer as per the requirements of the YPLA financial handbook. The Responsible Officer ensures that an independent oversight of the financial affairs of TEFAT academies takes place.

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Will there be a Trust Financial Handbook?

Yes. The EFA academy handbook requires the Trust to draw up an internal financial regulations / procedures manual. It can be found here

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Who will provide finance support?

The Trust submits annual audited accounts and financial statements to the EFA and Companies Houses on behalf of its academies.

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Will schools be required to use Elliot Foundation Trust services?

In a similar manner to their previous local authority provision, academies will be required to use the Elliot Foundation Academies Trust school improvement service for monitoring and evaluation support. More broadly, the Trust will pursue an approach that commissions services through local and national strategic partners (including local authorities) to secure value for money. In particular, the Trust is striving to identify partners that that work on a social enterprise or not-for-profit basis.

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What role do parents and the local community play in the running of the school?

Each Elliot Foundation Academy will have two elected parent governors as well as one community governor. It is also very likely that the majority of Foundation governors will be drawn from the local community. In addition, the Elliot Foundation aims to expand the presence of each of its academies within the local community. The Trust firmly believes that such integration between academy and community nurtures a positive environment within which children can flourish.

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Will pay scales stay the same?

Yes. Staff will continue to be employed as per the conditions of service they had prior to the school becoming an Elliot Foundation academy.

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Will each academy still have a Principal and leadership team?

Yes. Wherever possible the Elliot Foundation is committed to the policy of one principal per academy. The Trust considers other options only in situations where this is not possible. Such as small primary schools with fewer than 300 pupils.

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Who will be responsible for new appointments at the academy?

The academy Principal and academy governing body are responsible for all new appointments. The only exceptions to this are the Principal and the governing body themselves. The Principal is appointed by the governing body and the Elliot Foundation Academies Trust. The process of appointing the governing body is covered above.

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Will staff be expected to work/cover/share expertise across academies in their cluster?

All Elliot Foundation academies are expected to exchange ideas, contribute to knowledge and best practice sharing. Any staff exchange leading from this will be worked out in full consultation with staff and their school. We would hope the opportunity to work in other environments would be viewed by colleagues as a key part of personal development and beneficial to all.

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Can staff be moved to other schools to provide cover?

This will depend upon the contract of employment. As a general rule, employees will be expected to support other academies within TEFAT where it is reasonable to do so.

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Will subject co-ordinator posts be shared across schools?

The running of schools and the co-ordination of curriculum areas are delegated to the leadership of individual schools. Where a joint post may be beneficial to pupils and staff across two or more schools, then consultation and discussion would take place and staff would be fully involved.

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What are the implications for staff development, promotion and other career prospects?

All staff, whatever their role, working in Elliot Foundation schools will be encouraged to broaden their knowledge, experience and skills by sharing, talking and working with other schools. The intention is to create more opportunities to learn, motivate and retain staff as well as grow future leaders who are used to working across groups of schools.

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How many Elliot Foundation academies are there in my area?

Please see our schools page. This contains both a map and directory of all Elliot Foundation schools nationwide.

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