The Trust has a vision, in line with the values of the RSA, that is laid out to ensure that all schools and staff within them share a common aim and purpose.
The Trust monitors the quality and effectiveness of provision in schools, and where performance is good the trust delegates as much as possible to the schools – one of the key aims of the RSA Academies is to ensure that creative, local solutions, rooted within local communities, ensures excellence for each school. Financial delegation varies by size of school on some delegation thresholds (See financial delegation below).
Where performance is not yet strong, the delegation is tailored to ensure rapid improvement (see ‘school improvement model’ below, and in our Scheme of Delegation).
The Trust is developing at appropriate pace an efficient, small, central function and team, including the Executive Principal (CEO) and Chief Finance Officer.
The Trust has two geographical hubs, one in the Black Country and one south of Birmingham, currently focused on Redditch. We aim to grow both of these hubs, and will consider centralising some other functions, such as HR and payroll. The aim is to generate efficient central functions that are lean and effective, in order to ensure that the maximum amount can be spent specifically, school by school, on the children in our schools.
The Trust has a small central office, with training and meeting facilities for teacher and leadership training at all levels from Initial teacher training through to senior leadership training. The office is housed in the Jewellery Quarter in Central Birmingham, in the Assay Studios on Newhall Street. It also provides a hub for the RSA Academies Teaching School Alliance that serves all schools in the RSA Family of Academies.
As a member of the RSA Family of Academies the Central RSA Academies Trust recognises both the benefits of collaboration and the importance of allowing schools appropriate autonomy and flexibility to respond to the needs of their own communities.
Within the Central RSA Academies Trust the board of trustees is accountable in law for all major decisions about the academies within the group. This does not mean, however, that the board is required to make all the decisions themselves. The Central RSA Academies Trust takes the view that many decisions can and should be delegated, including to the CEO and local academy governing boards and across individual academy senior leadership teams.
Our scheme of delegation is the key document defining the lines of responsibility and accountability in a MAT. It is intended to be a clear and systematic way of ensuring members, trustees, committees (including local academy governing committees), executive leadership and academy principals are clear about their roles and responsibilities, allowing everyone to get on with the business of improving outcomes for children and young people.
The scheme of delegation is kept under regular review, and will be changed as required at any time to ensure clarity of operation and in the spirit of the above.
The Trust School Improvement Model (and degree of delegation by school category designation)
A key strategic aim of the Trust is to ensure that all schools are delivering sustainably good education. The Trust deploys a team to assess risk against this aim that consists of the CEO, the Early Years and Primary Curriculum Advisor and the commissioned Trust School Improvement Partner service. The CEO identifies when additional capacity is required from external providers to support the evaluation of risk.
An ongoing assessment of schools in the Trust, and those potentially joining the Trust, is made against our ‘six pillars’ of school improvement:
Outcomes, and current cohort progress measures
Teaching, learning and assessment
Well-being, behaviour and attendance
Leadership and management, including performance management, quality assurance, line management and financial efficiency
Our pillars are underpinned by the vision and values of the Central RSA Academies Trust, which are closely aligned to the values of the RSA and the RSA Academies.
Appropriate support and intervention
Where all six pillars are securely and sustainably ‘good’, school improvement planning is fully delegated to the school, and normal line management and monitoring support is applied by the Trust to the school.
Where a pillar is deemed less than good, or vulnerable to dropping below good, then additional support is allocated by the Trust.
‘Not yet ‘good’’
Where a number, or all pillars, are not yet securely good, the school is designated as ‘not yet ‘good’’. School Improvement planning is not delegated, and the CEO, with the Principal, take an active role with senior leaders at the school in the school improvement planning process, to ensure full support is given to rapid improvement. The CEO will identify additional resource allocation from the Trust School Improvement Fund, as required, including the deployment of:
NLE (inc. CEO) support
Additional TSIP support
EY&PC advisor support
SLE support from within the Trust, and through the RSA Teaching School Alliance
Deployment of other Trust senior leader support (including secondment)
Additional support and resource as required
The interventions are swift in order to generate rapid improvement that enables the school improvement planning process to be delegated at the earliest opportunity (once confidence can be assured that the school is securely and sustainably good).
Financial delegation thresholds by school finance banding
The Trust will designate each school in the Trust to a threshold banding annually based on size of school)
Band C Schools > 1000 pupils
Band B Schools with >500 and <1000 pupils
Band A Schools with <500 pupils
Where financial thresholds apply as part of the scheme of delegation, thresholds may vary by banding.