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Funding & Finances

The ‘top slice’ is the phrase we use in the education sector for each school's percentage contribution to the central budget. 

Different Trusts set different percentages, which reflect how much the centre pays for and how much schools are required to fund themselves. Some Trusts take a smaller percentage, e.g., 4-5%, but then charge for additional services or licences on top or require schools to fund certain things, like the MIS system, from their own budget. Other Trusts (like ours) take a higher percentage (ours is 8.33%) so that we can reduce administration and funding as much as possible. 

Not only does this streamline processes, but it also means we can procure things centrally (taking advantage of reduced costs) and keep our approaches unified to share and support each other more efficiently across our schools. The central team and services aim to provide services to schools they cannot afford. The next step will be to look at local services with long waiting lists and provide these for our children centrally (e.g., school nurses, mental health support, Ed Psych support, etc.).

Of the 8.33% that our schools contributed, approx. 63% of that is returned to schools through the jointly procured services they would need to purchase themselves (at a higher rate) if they were not part of a MAT. The remaining 37% is spent mainly on central team salaries; these central staff support schools and pupils daily.

 (As we grow, we can drive this figure down. We aim to reach 5%) 

Being part of our trust is financially beneficial to schools due to the high level of savings we produce through joint procurement and the returned top slice through joint services. 


This is what the 8.33% currently pays for: 

  • We use a health shield for staff health care (including video GP, 24/7 counselling support, private fees, stress prevention, etc.). 
  • Health care for staff's children 
  • Coaching all SLT and DSL staff from a qualified coach 
  • DSL supervision and support group 
  • Supervision for all heads from our counsellor (Tiff) 
  • Access to the counsellor as needed from staff or following school events (bereavement, etc.) 
  • Central Mental health first-aider who runs drop-ins for school staff and has bookable slots 
  •  Multiple CPD conferences a year (2 for HTS, 1 for all staff) 
  • Full days of SIP support (approx half termly) 
  • HTPMR and review meetings, including the paperwork prep and writing up etc 
  • Systems: (Access payroll, HR, Budgets, finances) (MIS - Arbor) (Risk, CPD and H+S: Every) (Smoothwall safeguarding)  
  • CPD system (safer recruitment, etc.) through Every by Iris 
  • Data Systems from FFT and Perspective
  • Subscriptions: The Key, NGA, Juniper HR and contracts portals, Juniper templates, Essex Pensions, Toolkit, Actuarial report, etc
  • H+S services from Judicium 
  • DPO, iCO etc., registration 
  • Lawyer and HR support from Brownejacobson, one account per school is paid for centrally and can be accessed directly by schools as required. 
  • Trust accountant on hand to support 
  • Internal and external audit fees (e.g. reviews, fire checks, etc.) 
  • Whole trust bids for grants etc.   


Plus, the central team staff:

  • Four cross-trust facilitators (English, maths, CPD and ECTS/RQTs) 
  • Mental health lead (with bookable sessions) 
  • Central support teacher (heads can request support or cover) 
  • Attendance and admissions administrator  
  • Payroll manager
  • Finance manager 
  • GDPR and audit officer  
  • Risk and projects officer (including RPA link and risk register management) 
  • EA (Centrally managed policies) 
  • Estate and H+S lead 
  • TBFM 
  • CEO 
  • Central competent person, to sign  off risk assessments