Staffordshire University Academies Trust (SUAT) is in a strong position to support Academy improvement, in all aspects, due to its link to the considerable resources of Staffordshire University.

The centre of the MAT

Funding the centre

In a similar way to most MATs SUAT has a central office function. As a single legal entity, SUAT’s central function is designed to enable the company to comply with legal, financial and statutory requirements and to have oversight of the Trust as a whole. The central function receives no core EFA income. It is funded out of the core funds from the member academies. This is done by way of an annual levy against core recurring income (GAG, etc.) on SUAT’s constituent academies. Increasing this levy is a drain on the resources of the member academies and the central function is deliberately designed to provide maximum support at minimal cost to the academies.

However, the benefits of operating as a MAT include the economies of scale of running services centrally and opportunities to set up central expertise that would not be economic at an individual Academy level. The SUAT central team provides more than just a group compliance function as it also offers high quality central expertise and resources that can drive up quality throughout the MAT.

Ensuring transparency and effective communication of the central services

Making the most of central activity

While some central of our central activity is evident through central charges for services, other central activity is less obvious. For example, using our central business team centrally procured supplies (e.g. HR Support) are more cost effective and provide a better service than individually negotiated contracts. However, the charges still likely to go through the individual academies rather than being a visible part of central services.

Another key resource is central expertise. SUAT is linked to the outstanding School of Education at Staffordshire University which gives unrivalled access to staff expertise that supports and help to develop the education provision at member academies. Some of these staff are covered through the central charges whilst others are charged back out, at cost, to academies based on usage of the services. This second model allows for more equitable cost charging based on usage of the service and greater scrutiny of the value of the service.

In essence SUAT offers support in:

Core Functions – funded by an annual levy

Strategic Direction and planning

Access to a suite of policies and support for policy and process development

Support for capital building programmes and bid opportunities

Financial Statutory Accounts

DfE / EFA Financial Returns

Legal – Corporate

Strategic Procurement

Strategic Financial Planning (VAT, cash flow)

Strategic Cash Flow

Asset Management Planning

Admissions Policy Planning

Financial Services – budget monitoring

Insurance and Risk Management Coordination

Exchequer Services – Supplier payments / procurement / banking

Policies and procedures


Employee Benefit Administration

Strategic staffing – (Chief Executive Officer, Chief Operating Officer, Finance Officer, Web support / marketing, Strategic ICT, Estates and Procurement, Learning and Achievement)

Audit – internal and external

Core Functions Chargeable

Operational ICT




All relevant SLAs


MAT and governance administration

Support for governance at all levels from a professional clerk

Audit of governance and strategic planning for improvement

Education Research by university staff

Services of education Improvement / Support  Partner (EIP) and School Improvement Coordination

Support for Foundation Stage by university staff

Support for Community Engagement and Reputation Management by University staff

Participation for staff, at all levels, in bespoke training packages delivered by university staff

Access to conferences and foreign study tours arranged by the School of education

Development of Policies at strategic level

Opportunities to join a network of teaching and support staff at all levels

HR Support for Performance Management and Performance Improvement programmes

Links with University faculties and staff expertise

Annual attendance at the Academies Show for key staff

Support for enrichment and extracurricular activities

Support for Ofsted inspection preparation

Support for development of Academy strategic plan

Additional training opportunities arranged through the outstanding School of education

Access to additional Academy Improvement Support through the School of education’s unrivalled contacts

EIP Support for Performance Management and Performance Improvement programmes


Join the Trust

If you are interested in joining Staffordshire University Academies Trust then please get in touch for a chat to discuss our services and all the options available to you.  Working together we will raise standards.