Bidding Support

    • Successful track record of managing Free School bids for small and large Trusts. We also specialise in feasibility assessments on the likely success of a free school bid.
    • Experienced at supporting Trusts to submit successful Teaching School applications and bids.
    • Skilled bid writing that ticks DfE boxes.

Marketing and Community Engagement

  • Successful marketing strategies to increase the number of pupils on roll. CBECS specialises in hands on marketing, visiting feeder primary schools, feeder nurseries, leaflet design for all phases of education.
  • Social media support and training which includes one-to-one coaching on how to use Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
  • Provision of value for money short video clips to support admission rounds and teacher recruitment and improved reputation. For samples of our work visit our You Tube Channel

Supported Academy Conversion

The decision on academy conversion is a significant one for your school.  It is important that the right decision is made for the school’s staff and the pupils. We can help you understand your options and provide experienced support to reduce the complexity of the conversion process.

Initially we can help you sort fact from fiction, make sense of the opportunities and guide you through the options. When you have made a decision and are ready, we are able to help you deal with the challenges and support you during the process of conversion or setting up a brand new Multi Academy Trust (MAT).

We work with key partners who can provide the legal and HR services and the due diligence work that’s needed to ensure a successful transition to academy or multi-academy status.

The service offer

The offer includes a free initial meeting (free except for travel costs for journeys over 65 miles) to explore the options, unpick fact from fiction and outline the process. If you want to proceed, the standard package is for six days consultancy support – four before conversion, one immediately after conversion and one six months after conversion to iron out any remaining issues. Prices are competitive and available on application.

All travel is standard class and only charged for journeys over 65 miles.

Pre-conversion support – ‘pick and mix’ according to context:

Exploring the local landscape
Ppreparation, analysis and presentation of local options for conversion including an analysis of existing MATs looking specifically at alignment of values, ethos and an appraisal of track record. Minimum 1 day.

Establishing the ground rules
When founding partners of a new MAT are identified, we will develop and facilitate a memorandum of understanding which sets out the ways of working, proposed structure, accountabilities and ground rules for resolving issues.
Minimum 1.5 days.

Establishing a scheme of delegation
Develop a scheme that operationalises the memorandum of understanding clearly articulating where action and accountabilities lie. Minimum 1.5 days.

‘Due diligence’
Co-ordination of work to ensure all risks and issues are identified (finance/buildings and land/staff/IT systems). Minimum 2 days.

Procurement support
Establishing effective procurement processes is a key requirement for an academy trust to ensure they achieve value for money. We can help you run a procurement exercise to identify a law firm and due diligence provider. We support as little or as much as is required, from advising on tender specification to running the whole process. Minimum 0.5 days depending on level of support required.

Supervision and co-ordination of delivery partners
We can be the point of contact with appointed lawyers, HR specialists and other delivery partners.  We will translate and help process the requests for information. As required – minimum of 1 day.

Link to Department for Education
Be the point of contact with the DfE to resolve high level issues and day-to-day queries. We will translate and help process the requests for information. As required – minimum 1 day.

Stress testing for larger MATs
A facilitated workshop to stress test working arrangements using different scenarios. For example, procurement problems, headteacher recruitment process, staffing issues, funding cutbacks. 1.5 days to prepare and deliver.

Governor training
Deliver bespoke training to maintained school governors on the main changes to governance arrangements for academies and multi-academy trust. One day to prepare and deliver.

Post Conversion Support

Teething problems
Minimum of one day of support to help address any remaining conversion issues including support on communications and links to key partners.

Health check
Minimum of one day of support carried out six months after conversion to include an evaluation of performance against Sir David Carter’s  ‘The Characteristics of Successful Multi Academy Trusts’.

General support
Follow up and support of any issue raised in the above.

Conversion is a bit like a game of snakes and ladders – what C:BECS can do is help you avoid the snakes and make good use of the ladders! Call us for a discussion about next steps and setting up an initial meeting.

Academy and Free School Consultations

C:BECS is fast developing a reputation for delivery of effective statutory and non-statutory consultations and stakeholder engagement. Whether you need to provide evidence of stakeholder engagement for your free school application, community support to enable a funding agreement to be signed or parent and stakeholder support for your academy plans, C:BECS can help.  We will develop a tailored solution that not only meets your needs but your budget too.

Some examples of the work we have undertaken:

  • Cotham School, Bristol – Consultation on Cotham School’s plans to move from a cooperative standalone academy trust to a multi-academy trust based on standard articles of association. CBECS contributed by providing first drafts of consultation information, daily monitoring of a dedicated email account for questions, providing drafts for responses to questions and drafting of the final report for the school’s Board of Governors.Jo Butler Headteacher at Cotham wrote to CBECS,  “I am really happy with what you’ve done.  The report is concise, analytical (I like the charts!) and accurately reflects the views expressed during the consultation.”
  • Tenax Schools Trust, Kent and East Sussex – Gathering of evidence of community support for two free school applications in Paddock Wood and Hellingly. The Paddock Wood application relied on gathering evidence that a Church of England ethos school would augment the current provision of primary places and give local parents a choice of school when new housing is developed in the town. In Hellingly, the direct interaction with the community revealed existing unmet demand for good school places and a desire for a church ethos school. This became clear at a public meeting that was attended by over 70 members of the public and representatives of local schools. At the end of the meeting, nearly all those attending raised their hands to support the application with no-one voting against.Ian Bauckham CEO of Tenax Schools Trust wrote “C:BECS has assisted us in project management and free school bidding, in particular engagement with local communities where we are considering opening a new school.  I have been impressed by the thoroughness of the planning and the comprehensive range of stakeholders and influencers Christine has mustered on each occasion.”
  • Bishop Chavasse Primary School, Kent – Undertaking all aspects of the Section 10 consultation required by the Academies Act 2010. Over 160 people responded to the consultation that was facilitated through: leaflet delivery to neighbouring properties, email contacts to schools, local media and local politicians, weekly monitoring of social media activity and proactive posting, personalised visits to playgroups and nursery facilities and an organised public meeting. Over 85% of respondents were able to say that they supported the Department for Education entering into a funding agreement with the academy trust. Feedback on the location of the site has fed into the local authority’s planning process.

Leadership and Governance

  • We offer Leadership and Governance reviews to help schools, academies and free schools ensure that every pupil and student suceeds and to prepare for Ofsted inspections. Using criteria from the current inspection framework we test your documentation, policies and notes of meetings. Combined with interviews with key governors and the headteacher we can help the school’s leadership team develop priorities for improvement and can provide additional support on next steps.
  • Reviews of Leadership and Governance of Multi-academy Trust Boards using David Carter’s framework for effective MATS.
  • Christine offers personal coaching and support for new academy and free school leaders. Packages available – price on application.

Finance and Funding

We offer a variety of support for leadership teams as they set budgets for the new financial year. For example we can facilitate engagement with governors and the senior leadership team and audit your school development plan to ensure that activities are fully costed and prioritised. Christine was Head of Academy Funding policy and understands the need to balance accountability against automony. She can help you navigate the difficult decisions you’ll need to make alongside the EFA timetable for financial returns. Her daily rate for this work is £500 plus expenses.

Academy and Free School Project Management

CBECS are experienced project managers who can add value to securing sponsored academy, converter academy and free school projects. They can be retained to provide discreet elements from the list below or they can provide a comprehensive service covering all your project management needs.

  • Preperation of project plans and reporting on progress.
  • Academy and free school consultations.
  • Preperation for key meetings.
  • Recruitment process.
  • Administration of Project Development Grant (PDG) for free school projects.
  • Marketing plans for new free schools.
  • Drafting of key policies for new free schools.

Costs vary according to the lengh of contract. Please be in touch with to discuss your project needs.

Conference and After Dinner Speaker

Christine is an experienced conference speaker, host and panel member. She was a founder member of the facilitator network in the Department of Education and is expert in getting desired outcomes from large and small meetings. An example of the type of conference session Christine can deliver is around risk.

Risk Averse or Risk Aware? Using risk management to improve school management

Christine explores how risk management can improve the way your school or MAT is run. Effective risk management is a vital planning tool. It’s about making sure resources are focused and that strategic plans take into account unexpected events so that school leaders are ready to respond in a worse case scenario.

Christine uses her wealth of educational experience to bring the topic alive.  She uses interactive participation, discussion and worked examples to demonstrate the value of risk management in a business managers toolkit.

As an after dinner speaker, Christine delivers a thought provoking, sometimes funny reflection on her journey from super-market shelf filler to well regarded civil servant delivering open free schools in the South East and South London region.