Keystone's Year in Review

Keystone Knowledge Year in Review The Keystone team have gone above and beyond this year.

 2021 was a tough year for many and the Keystone staff had their share of struggles. Despite this, they went above and beyond to give our clients an exceptional service with measurable outcomes for pupils. Our vision is for every child to receive an outstanding education, underpinned by excellent school and trust management – and we like to think that we worked with schools to make this vision a reality.

We asked some members of the Keystone team what their three favourite projects of 2021 were.

Lisa's main project in 2021 was project managing the building of the new Ashby Hastings Primary School alongside the Symphony Trust. Although the Symphony Trust is a well-established MAT, this was their first time building a school 'from the ground up'. Having an experienced project manager, like Lisa, gave the Trust confidence and allowed them to ask for advice on all aspects of the build. Ensuring the health and safety of children coming into the school was of the utmost importance. As with all projects, there were bumps along the way, but Lisa successfully worked with the local authority, contractors and other stakeholders, to ensure the school opened as planned on 23rd August 2021.

She worked alongside other members of the Keystone team to conduct full due diligence on Belgrave school as they prepare to join the Rise Academy Trust. Using a list of around 300 questions, Lisa was able to really dig into the school's HR, H&S, ICT, and facilities management. Making the due diligence a positive experience with an easy flowing conversation allows schools to be open and honest around any issues, such as long-term absences and health and safety risks as well as highlighting the positives.

Lisa is currently the interim COO at the Endeavour Learning Trust in West Lancashire and Merseyside. Her main aims during her tenure are to support the MAT's sustainable growth into 2022 and to review the processes and procedures with an emphasis on implementation and streamlining. In the initial months, she focused on pain points and quick wins to get things moving in the right direction.

Click here for the Ashby Hastings Primary School case study. 

Matthew worked alongside Lisa at Orchard Community Primary School to undertake due diligence as it looks to join the Symphony Trust. While Lisa focussed on the facilities, Matthew made sure that the governance, leadership management, and safeguarding arrangements of the school are up to the standard expected by the trust. Meeting with the headteacher to discuss the documents, processes, and procedures allowed him to complete the formal due diligence report.

Matthew was also heavily involved with putting together a significant change business case for the TEAM Education Trust. This special school MAT had been approached by a neighbouring Local Authority to provide satellite provision for children in their area. Formal approval is expected shortly and an official in the Regional Schools Commissioner's team has said that the proposal is 'exceptionally strong'. Additionally, as part of the expectation to consult, Matthew registered and built a bespoke website for the trust to collect and analyse stakeholder feedback on the changes.

He also conducted a governance review for East Barnet School using a two-pronged approach, looking at both the quality of governance and compliance. Casting his expert eye over the documentation, including declarations, meeting minutes and terms of reference allowed him to give the standalone trust a clean bill of health and put together a series of recommendations for further improvement.

Pip joined the Keystone team 2 months ago, but she immediately got stuck in. Her first task has been to check that the Keystone internal documentation matches our vision and values. We treat our staff as individuals who work with us, rather than for us.

Pip has been overseeing the TUPE (Transfer of Undertakings. Protection of Employment) process at Belgrave school. Being able to go into the school and working with both sides of the transfer has allowed the school staff to ask questions and gain confidence in the process. Pip faced a tight deadline as she needed a Trade Union Recognition Agreement (TURA) that was approved by both Leicester City representatives and Leicester County representatives by the 1st December. The agreed version will hopefully lead to a positive relationship between them and the client post-transfer.

As part of her role at Rise MAT as a HR retainer, she has advised on situations that have arisen over the last few months and has supplied letter templates as needed. By advising schools on the best practice, these situations will be resolved quickly and with the best possible outcomes for all of the involved parties. She has also guided the MAT with simple queries on pay progression, maternity and flexible working requests.

In 2021, Keystone have done work which has positively impacted over 16,500childrenand we hope to help even more this year! If you would like to talk to us about how to improve the outcomes in your school, click here to get in touch.

Keystone's Guide to HR Retainers
Acronyms in School Business Management

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