Provision of central services

In our MAT, we understand that every school is different and that every school is at a different point in their journey to excellence. Our highly qualified and experienced Executive and Central Teams will work with leaders, trustees and governors to assess every aspect of need and form a complete picture of how we can best support you. The Executive and Central Teams provide the background operations and ensure they benefit and meet the needs of all the schools. By centralising the key services the MAT can not only realise benefits in terms of economies of scale but also free up the headteachers’ capacity to focus on school improvement.

Our core offer will then be tailored to your school’s needs, to create an individual package of support and improvement.

A central contribution will be agreed at school level to pay for any services that are provided by the MAT centrally to make them more cost-effective. Over a period of time we will work towards the central contribution being between 5% and 7% of the total GAG and this would be dependent on the needs of the individual schools within the MAT. The central contribution will be reviewed periodically to ensure that it continues to meet the needs of each individual school.

The central contributions from all schools contribute to the following range of services:

School Improvement

  1. Progress review meetings with the Chief Executive Officer or Deputy Chief Executive Officer
  2. Access to our School Improvement Strategy - please click here.
  3. Access to our Directors of English & literacy, mathematics and modern foreign languages
  4. Access to our team of Specialist Leaders in Education (SLEs) and other outstanding teachers and leaders (additional charges may apply). Support from the SLEs within the MAT is free of charge. There is a reduced rate for schools in the MAT when accessing support from SLEs from other schools in the alliance.
  5. Opportunities for staff to become SLEs
  6. Teaching & learning development and support via our Teaching School Hub and SLEs
  7. Access to a vast range of training courses offered by the Teaching School Hub
  8. Access to funding associated with successful bids (eg-Sport England)
  9. Access to support from the ECT appropriate body
  10. Professional learning networks for subject/phase leaders and teachers
  11. Leadership development programme and pathways
  12. Opportunities to be trained as a NPQ Visiting Fellow
  13. New headteacher induction
  14. Access to the DSL and SENCo collaborative groups
  15. Peer and external reviews
  16. Annual Pupil Premium review or healthcheck on request
  17. Quality Assurance of SEF and SDP
  18. Annual Standards Review with MAT support plan as required
  19. Annual MAT wide training days
  20. Support with OFSTED inspections
  21. Widespread staff secondment and shadowing opportunities
  22. Trustees’ and governors' leadership and training opportunities plus attendance at our annual governance conference
  23. Membership of the clerking group for LGB clerks
  24. Access to the Attendance intervention service (additional charges may apply)
  25. Access to the MAT Estates and facilities service (additional charges may apply)
  26. Various opportunities via the SCITT:
  • Involvement with the recruitment of trainee teachers 
  • Access to a wide pool of talented trainee teachers to have on placement in the school or recruit as ECTs
  • Access to research facilities through Birmingham City University (lecturer status via the SCITT)


  1. MAT DSL
  2. MAT safeguarding policy
  3. MAT safeguarding strategy
  4. MAT wide DSL meetings
  5. Procurement of DSL supervision package
  6. Central collation and analysis of safeguarding data
  7. HR support for SCR and safeguarding administration
  8. Annual MAT safeguarding training

Human Resources

HR is a centralised function across the MAT through our HR Consultant, HR Admin Manager team and an SLA. The HR team will work with your academy to help you identify and plan what your strategic HR needs will be in the coming year, linking them to your school improvement plan. They will also provide pragmatic solutions and options to swiftly bring to a successful conclusion performance and other HR issues. Integral to our service is to deal with your HR contractual administration requirements, ensuring all contractual matters are processed, handled and maintained in a professional and secure manner.

Initial start-up on joining

  1. Information, advice and support during the transition to academy and initial HR orientation

HR Advisory & Administration

  1. Support covering:
  • Performance management
  • Employment law advice
  • Absence management and reporting
  • Terms and conditions
  • Grievance and disciplinary
  • Complex casework
  • Investigations
  • Union consultation
  • Workforce planning
  • Staff recruitment and retention
  • Processing of all contractual appointments, terminations and variations
  • Management information
  • e-Safeguarding DBS service
  • Appraisal

Strategic HR Support

  1. Change management
  2. Restructuring and redundancy
  3. Strategic workforce planning
  4. Attracting and retaining the best staff
  5. Policy development

Systems support

  1. Fully integrated HR and Payroll system
  2. Pension returns and audit

Staff wellbeing

  1. Occupational health provision covering referrals and reviews
  2. The MAT has signed up for an Employee Assistance Programme for all members of staff
  3. Absence management and guidance
  4. Stress management


  1. In-house training and briefing sessions on relevant HR topics and legislation


Finance is a centralised function across the MAT through our Chief Financial Officer, Chief Financial Officer, Financial Accountant, Management Accountant and Senior Finance Officers.


  1. Payroll provision for all schools
  2. Administration of bank accounts
  3. Access to financial expertise and training from a range of MAT staff including the Chief Financial Officer, Financial Accountant and Management Accountant
  4. Advice on compliance with the Academy Financial Handbook and the MAT’s financial procedures
  5. Provision of internal and external audit service
  6. Processing of all ESFA returns, VAT returns, BACS payments and month and year end procedures


  1. Access to a central team of qualified procurement specialists who will create a clear picture of your current procurement practices & provide advice on opportunities:
  2. Creation of a strategy for each commodity (books, printing, etc.) to establish bulk buy savings and quality improvements for each key area of spend
  3. Access to a single high quality contract supplier for key services across the MAT. Tender & quotation management for contracts shared with other schools.
  4. Service level agreements and regular meetings with key suppliers to continuously improve quality and drive down costs
  5. Training to procure goods & services effectively
  6. Access to procurement savings via the MAT group agreements.

Please note that procurement of low value or occasional items remains the responsibility of individual schools.

Business management

  1. Legal advice for day to day issues (additional school contribution may be required depending on circumstances)
  2. Insurance commission fee for arrangement of insurance not covered under RPA

Estates and Facilities

Estates and Facilities is a centralised function across the MAT through our Trust Estates and Facilities Manager and Deputy Trust Estates and Facilities Manager.

Initial start-up on joining

  1. Information, advice and support during transition to academy and initial compliance audit


  1. On-site and by phone support
  2. 3-year property/condition funding strategy
  3. Assistance with ESFA data collection surveys
  4. Assistance with Emergency Planning
  5. Guidance on strategic services for repair and maintenance
  6. Safe minibus use guidance
  7. Asbestos management plan reviews
  8. Assistance with Cleaning, Catering & other Estates contract management
  9. Assistance with recruitment
  10. Estates monitoring check lists for Business managers and Site Teams
  11. Assistance in the event of plant or building failure
  12. Assistance with major project or relocation planning
  13. Assistance with Budget planning

Health and Safety Support

  1. On-site and phone support
  2. Statutory compliance guidance and audits
  3. Accident reporting (RIDDOR) and follow up investigations
  4. Asbestos management plan guidance
  5. Risk assessments
  6. HSE radiation registration
  7. Fire Risk Management guidance and reviews
  8. Fire Induction guidance
  9. Health and safety Induction guidance
  10. Policy support-eg Health & Safety policy, Asbestos safety policy, Fire safety policy, Managing and selecting contractors policy etc

GDPR/Data Protection

  1. GDPR policy and privacy notice
  2. Registration with the ICO
  3. Data protection officer support and audit provision
  4. Training and support
  5. Data breach and subject access request guidance
  6. Privacy notice


IT is a centralised function across the MAT through our Trust IT Manager.

  1. MAT IT manager
  2. IT strategy to support the development and implementation of policies and procedures across the MAT
  3. Transition for existing and new academies to the MAT core IT services to enable:
  • Connectivity
  • Communication
  • Information Management
  • Collaboration
  1. Management & development of IT staff
  2. Fully managed IT service including:
  • Managing performance, maintenance and accessibility to the network infrastructure
  • ICT Helpdesk
  • Website maintenance & support
  • Printing deployment, management & administration
  • System & data backup management
  • Disaster recovery process & procedure
  • Technical installation & setup
  • Service Level Agreement
  1. Expert advice and evaluation of new software and technologies to support the delivery of the IT strategy
  2. Procurement of systems and technologies to support and enable delivery of the strategic plan
  3. Management of implementation of new systems and technologies
  4. Training and support for existing and newly acquired applications and systems
  5. Supplier management

Procurement and organisation of the mandatory services

Services procured, organised and covered by the central contribution for all schools

  1. All audit fees and charges-eg statutory financial audits, teacher pension audits, internal audits (both financial and non-financial etc
  2. All payroll charges
  3. All charges associated with the LGPS pension scheme administration (including the valuation costs and charges)
  4. All bank fees and processing costs
  5. All costs associated with our in-house HR adviser
  6. All training costs, software and license fees associated with operating the financial management and budget management system
  7. Costs associated with any additional external financial support

Costs procured and organised by the Central Team but paid for by individual schools

  1. School specific HR contracts
  2. All schools are covered with the RPA and this is deducted at source by the RPA from the monthly GAG allocations. However, each individual school is responsible for paying its own additional insurance policies-eg minibus.
  3. Pension back fill charge. This is billed as one for the MAT but re-charged to the individual schools.
  4. Catering SLA
  5. Cleaning SLA
  6. Legal Services
  7. School Admission Appeals
  8. Trade Union Facilities
  9. Critical Incident
  10. B & S Educational System Training Ltd (EVC)
  11. Building Energy Management (BEM)
  12. Energy
© 2021 The Four Stones Multi Academy Trust. Registered address: Brake Lane, Hagley, Worcestershire. DY8 2XS. A charitable company limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales. Company number: 07652306.