The Bronte Academy Trust
Bronte Academy Trust is a small academy trust currently consisting of three primary schools – Lees, Oakworth and Haworth – in the Bronte Country of West Yorkshire. The schools have a long history of working together and although they are in a tight geographic location, their reach has extended beyond the area and the team have supported other schools in the region.
The trust focus is on collaboration, sharing expertise and ensuring it gets the best for the children in their area. The area does not have high deprivation, but the trust has challenges with poor white British families.
All organisations have important assets within their facilities that they need to monitor, maintain and manage. From laptops and books, to desks and chairs, boilers and fire doors, schools have hundreds of items, both physical and virtual, that need to be managed in some way. Since becoming a Multi Academy Trust (MAT) and subsequently leaving the local Council, Bronte Academy Trust wanted to know that their facilities and the assets therein, were fully compliant with Statutory and Legislative regulations.
Litmus’ brief was to carry out a comprehensive “Hard Services” Statutory and Legislative Health Check. The project would be to investigate the physical environment at Haworth Primary School and the existing maintenance practises being delivered, to thereafter provide the CEO and CFO with a full report on the findings, along with any recommendations.
John Brownless, the Litmus Partnership, said: “We regularly get questions for CEO’s, CFO’s, Head Teachers and Business Managers such as ‘What is Asset Management and why do I need it in my school? Do I have examples of asset management documents that meet the Schools Financial Value Standards (SFVS)? What is the guidance on asset management planning to meet the SFVS from the Education Funding and Skills Agency?’
“Educational financial regulation and other statutory requirements now make accurate and up‐to‐date asset, equipment inventories and statutory testing as key management functions. It’s important that MAT’S adopt a stringent management approach due to the requirements of the Academies Financial Handbook, in line with the Education Funding Agency.
“Also, Critical Assets and Health & Safety management are now clearly the responsibility of the school whist in Academy status, not knowing the condition of these assets and not managing the hard services requirements could have a significant impact on the school budget and reputation of the Trust.
“As part of this project, we provided our qualified engineering consultancy team that began by checking that all Statutory and Legislative requirements were being met and were up-to-date. They also investigated the schools Planned Preventative Maintenance (PPM) was properly captured and completed for all of the assets and the programme, in line with statutory requirements.”
The report that was provided to Haworth School and the Bronte Academy Trust provided vital confirmation that the school was safe, and the statutory practices were being adhered to. It also provided new recommendations for improvements and possible cost reduction through better and more comprehensive asset management.
“The Litmus report has made a significant difference to our school and how we manage the facilities within it. I can be rest assured that we are now compliant with the law around statutory testing. I’ve seen a 20% decrease in cost due to their recommendations, which has been pretty remarkable. This means we can use this saving and add to more vital budget, such as teaching. I am delighted with the outcome.”