Connecting with The Central Office Team

As our Trust continues to grow, there is a need for more resources in the Central Office Team to ensure efficiencies and economies of scale.  Therefore, it is with pleasure, that we welcome the familiar faces of Brian Fox and Andy Green who are now the Estates and Facilities Managers for all of the Trusts sites and Lauren Harris, the new Trust Administrator and Clerk to the Board/Associations.

As is the case for all staff across the Trust, the Central Office Team have hit the ground running this half term, to make a maximum impact on the 2017/18 academic year.  Below is a round-up of what we’ve being focussing on so far:

Andy Bird: CEO

At the end of the 2016/17 academic year, the Fairfax Multi-Academy Trust incorporated four Academies, educating around 300 students and employing over 700 staff with a budget in excess of £23 million. My primary focus is to ensure that at the beginning of the 2017/18 academic year, the strategies in place are communicated and understood in order to ensure the following key objectives are met:

  • Heads of Academy can focus on teaching, learning and behaviour, as announced at the Annual FMAT Leadership Conference.
  • The Central Office function will deliver ‘back office’ functions to achieve economies of scale and consistency in reporting to the Board.

Chris Stevens: Director of Education

Over the past few weeks I have been working with lead practitioners across the Trust in order to launch our ‘Teaching for Excellence’ programme; it has been a pleasure to observe outstanding colleagues in English, mathematics, science, art, P.E and humanities.

Also this term I am undergoing Ofsted lead inspector training in order for the Trust and our school leaders to gain a deeper understanding of the Ofsted framework and the standards expected of schools.

John Fitzgerald: Chief Operating Officer

In September 2017 my role changed from Financial Director to Chief Operating Officer for the Trust.

The most significant operational updates from this half term are:

  • The Estates function has been centralised;
  • A new catering provider, Aspens, has been procured for Erdington, Bournville and Smith’s Wood. They have committed to a £117k capital spend across the three sites;
  • Further to funding, the £1.3m roofing projects have been completed;
  • £100k of ICT server and backup refreshes have taken place at Bournville and Erdington. This was funded by Birmingham City Council;
  • The phase two building works at Bournville Primary Provision are near completion;
  • Completion of the ‘financial year end’ in preparation for next external annual audit, commencing on 30.10.17.

Danielle Billington: Director of HR

One of the highlights this half term was Browne Jacobson’s Annual Conference in Birmingham. The event was very well attended and gave a good overview regarding the challenges Education and HR Departments in Education are facing, especially due to the funding cuts hitting the sector over the next few years.

Over this academic year, I am working on a few larger initiatives. One of them, is to deal with the IR35 requirements which the government has recently introduced. HR and Finance are working closely together on this to ensure compliance. As a result, both departments will continue to meet once per term to foster a positive working relationship.

The Board of Directors have also agreed the FMAT Teachers’ Pay Scales for 2017/18 and the updated Pay policy to reflect these changes. The Pay policy is available on the staff handbook section of each academy.

Rob Fitzgerald: Information and Systems Manager

Since the early hours of the 16th August, a large part of my life has been taken up with results analysis and understanding performance across the Trust. Whilst reviewing A Level and GCSE results are just one part of judging the success of an institution, at this stage of the year, it is an essential element with national results being released, performance tables published and an array of self-assessment tools being released by the DfE/Ofsted. Aside from living within spreadsheets, I have begun the process of preparing for General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) readiness for the 25th May 2018, migrated the Trust to the “cloud”, continued to further develop Trust wide data systems, concluded the final stage of an ICT strategy review with technical partners Novatia and started on roadmap for cloud based version of SIMs which will be available in 2019.

Brian Fox and Andy Green: Estates and Facilities Managers

Having worked at Erdington Academy (previously Kingsbury School and Sports College) and Fairfax as Premises Managers for a combined total of more than forty years between us, in September 20017 we were appointed to the Central Office Team.

Since being appointed as Trust Estate and Facilities Managers our areas of responsibilities within the Trust include H&S, Caretaking staff, Grounds Staff, and overseeing various contracts.

Since September we have focusing on many key areas including agreeing the Trust Estates Team structure, investigating on site structures and procedures, reviewing Handsam across the Trust and monitoring the existing ongoing Building and Roofing contracts.

Keeley Clarke: Graphic Designer

After working on new Bournville Signage through the Summer my attention immediately turned to Open Evenings on our return.  Work included artwork for newspapers and billboard advertising, leaflets advertising the event for primary schools. Promotional material was produced for the evenings at three of the four Academies, including folders, leaflets and maps as well as updating display boards.

My day to day role is to support the Academies with design work on ad hoc projects which have included Vision statements, FMAT Games certificates and designing various posters promoting school events e.g. Careers Fair, Futures Week and Sixth Form Open Evening.

Longer term projects include contributing to the new website designs and signage for Erdington and Smith’s Wood.

Lauren Harris: Trust Administrator and Clerk to the Board/Associations

I am the clerk for each of the Academy Associations, the Board of Directors, Members Meetings and also various internal meetings. My role within the central office team is very varied; however, one of my main objectives for this term has been ensuring all governance documents and data on both Academy websites and governmental data bases are all up to date and compliant; along with general office admin to support the daily operations of the Trust.

Simone Gannon: PA to the CEO and Communications

In addition to my role as PA to Andy, I have recently been tasked with ensuring all lines of communication across the Trust are efficient, effective and uniform.  This half term my focus has been on the successful implementation of the MYEd App, increasing social media presence, updating photographic stock imagery for all Academies within the Trust, FMATConnect, networking and strengthening partnerships with local organisations i.e. Sutton Community Games, Clifton Road Youth Project, Clive Mark etc., attending all Academy Open Evenings and last but by no means least, collaborating on the design and content for six new websites which will be launched on 1st November 2017.

Starting with the Basics

It is widely understood through-out the Trust that the key to achieving our core values is mastering and maintaining the basics.  Once standards such as uniform, lines ups, 4 to start and 4 to finish etc. are effectively incorporated into the daily routine of our students, behaviour naturally improves and teaching and learning is enhanced.

During the recent photo shoots at each Academy, it was great to see all of our students proudly representing their Academies in full and correct uniform.

In line with the value of standardising uniforms, negotiations between Central Office and Clive Mark mean that certain Academy team sports kits continue to be sponsored.  Students have been spotted at several sporting matches over the past few weeks; these fabulous kits help raise the profile of our Academies and spur our students on to achieve great results!