2021-22 Contract Services planning and renewal process

    Annual contract service renewals are released to schools in February and provide a proposal of services that your school may wish to purchase.  The proposal is a forecast for the forthcoming year and is based on last year’s purchased annual services. 

    The document can also be used to assist with school budget planning, ahead of making your financial returns. 

    Below, you will find a range of FAQ’s to help answer your most common generic and service specific questions.

    If you would like to discuss our contract services package or have any questions, please call us on 01438 544464 (option 6) or email contracts@hertsforlearning.co.uk.

    General FAQs

    Contracts are sent via email to schools in the week prior to February half term. 

    The Headteacher, school business manager/finance manager (where we have the information) and the Chair of governors will all get a copy of the contract.

    Yes – please contact us and we will email a copy to the school.

    A full breakdown of our services including, Advisory, Occupational Health, Financial and Technology for Schools services.

    If the school would like to make a change to any of the services on the contract they can either:

    Indicate the change through by completing our online form

    • Call us on 01438 544464

    Please check in any spam or junk folders your email software may have in the first instance. If you still have not received it, please contact contracts@hertsforlearning.co.uk or call 01438 544464

    An overview of each service is included in the PDF contract pack with links to service details online.

    Our terms and conditions can be found here.  Please review all sections including section 6 relating to term and termination of contract services.

    If you are unable to find an answer within these FAQ’s, please contact our contract services team via the online contact form.

    A full service breakdown is available on your contract, however, further information regarding our Financial Services and Technology in Schools can be found in the subscription area of your HfL online account. 

    No. The document is used for planning the schools budget in time for the financial returns; however any changes that the school wishes to make need to be sent to our customer services team by 31st March.  Changes received after this date will fall in line with our terms and conditions, section 6.   

    Contract changes will be processed during April, with final contracts sent to schools in May.

    The contract shows the services that the school has purchased in the previous financial year.

    If you are converting to an academy before the 1st April 2021 , please contact our customer services team at contracts@hertsforlearning.co.uk to discuss how we can support you.

    If you would like details about our PAYU services please contact us on info@hertsforlearning.co.uk.

    Team specific FAQs

    Advisory Services

    The contract service is for the financial year 2020/21 (April 2020 to March 2021); the secondary and special school advisory services were purchased on an academic year (September to August). To avoid any confusion about double payments, as the service has already been agreed to, the contract does not show the amount.

    The HIP is allocated on an academic year cycle, therefore the school will retain their current HIP until the end of the summer term. HIP’s will be allocated for September 2020 being mindful of the following.

    • If your current HIP is able to continue to work for HFL in the new academic year.
    • How long your HIP has been working with your school- sometimes parties appreciate a fresh pair of eyes!
    • If there are any circumstances that mean your school would now be more venerable. in the eyes of OFSTED and therefore requires additional HIP time.

    The Education services Director, Primary will make every effort to allocate a requested advisor, however this is not always possible.

    Your designated HIP will be confirmed in the second half of the Summer term.

    Where possible we will try to allocate the same HIP to maintain continuity. If you request a change of HIP we will endeavour to fulfil the request, however, sometimes this may not be possible.

    Yes. Many of our schools choose the successful programme of:

    • A half day Autumn visit reflecting on pupil outcomes from the previous academic year
    • Support with Head Teachers appraisal
    • A full day Spring visit for a more in depth review of the schools practices
    • A half day Summer visit to review the year

    We are also very happy to work with senior leaders to agree an appropriate bespoke and flexible package for our schools if this is better suits their needs.

    If a report is necessary, the time to write the report will be taken from the four day allocation. If the school has already used its allocation the time would have to be charged at the standard rate.

    Yes, you are able to purchase extra days (at the standard rate) on a pay-as-you-use basis. This would not be shown on your contract.

    Teaching and Learning

    No. The TLA super saver package would allow a menu of options (a), (b), (c) or (d):

    a) four days consultancy

    b) three days consultancy plus two twilight sessions

    c) three days consultancy plus half a day inset

    d) two and a half days consultancy plus one day inset

    HfL will make every effort to allocate the requested advisor, although this is not always possible. However all of our team subject specialists offer a wealth of school improvement experience. The team provide nationally acclaimed bespoke training, guidance and support to school leaders, teachers, teaching assistants and parents to improve outcomes for children.

    No. Once you have been allocated an advisor they will liaise with you to agree the nature of support that would best fit your school’s needs.

    Advisory Services - Early Years

    The EYA Super Saver package allows school leaders a menu of options (a, b or c) to tailor the support in a way that will be most beneficial to their individual school’s needs:

    a) two days bespoke consultancy

    b) one and a half days bespoke consultancy and a twilight staff training session

    c) one day bespoke consultancy plus a half day INSET

    The package is designed with leaders to meet the professional development needs of their EYFS team, to support self-reflection and to offer ongoing support for continuous development of high quality practice and provision.

    Elements of EYFS provision and practice that could be considered useful to explore are:

    • self-evaluation and action planning support for senior leaders
    • review, design and development of an effective curriculum for the early years
    • developing high quality learning environments
    • support with monitoring in the EYFS for headteachers and senior leaders
    • support with deep dives in the EYFS for subject leaders
    • helping new EYFS team leaders to understand their leadership role, to lead and develop a high-performing team
    • exploration and review of school’s home learning offer and advice to further enhance parental engagement and empowerment
    • joint lesson observations with leaders
    • scrutiny of assessment procedures including learning journals and progress tracking
    • safeguarding and welfare audit
    • evaluation of provision using the evidence based Early Childhood Environmental Rating Scales (ECERS) audit of the learning environment, including high-quality adult/child interactions during child-initiated learning time (one and a half day equivalent)
    • empowering staff to adapt provision for two year olds
    • developing the role of the adult to support effective teaching and learning by all staff
    • coaching/lesson study/team teaching
    • staff meeting (delivery and planning)

    Data Management

    For clarity in our contracts, we have separated the support provided to the school by HfL (Data Management Services) and the Capita SIMS Annual Entitlement and Licences (which Capita charges to HfL at the beginning of the contract year and is recharged by HfL to maintained schools). 

    The Data Management Services (support) element may be displayed as specific services your schools subscribes to, such as Arbor support, or SIMS Hosting, provided by our Partner organisation, Scomis.  Further information about the individual services can be found on the DMS website pages.

    The total cost is worked out on a per-pupil basis for the whole year, plus an additional charge if you use extra modules (Dinner Money, Lesson Monitor, Partnership Xchange or Multiple Timetables).  HfL are required to make a full payment to Capita for the Capita SIMS Annual Entitlement (for the 12 month period commencing 1st April) although the school will receive this as a monthly charge.

    The Capita SIMS Annual Entitlement is a 12 month fixed contract and cannot be cancelled part way through the year. Notification that a school wishes to move away from SIMS as their Management Information System (MIS) must be made in writing to HfL by 10th December to prevent further charges in the following financial year.

    No. When schools convert, Capita require that the academy purchase the licences directly from them. However, the school is still able to purchase their Service Desk support from HfL. Data Management Services can provide further information should the school be considering conversion, as part of their due diligence, please contact us via our Service Desk on 01438 544466 Option 1 then Option 1 to discuss your specific needs.

    In addition to any small pricing increase to cover inflation, an additional increase may be reflective of changes made to your services or the addition of new services.

    As part of the contract pricing is based on pupil numbers on roll, if the school has increased or decreased in numbers since last year, this can result in a different pricing band. Also, if the school has started using a new module in SIMS, e.g. Dinner Money, there may be an additional charge for HfL to support that module, which would have been discussed at the time is was installed, plus Capita SIMS will charge additional Annual Entitlement on that module. Similarly, if a specific SIMS module is cancelled, the cost may be reduced, depending on the module.

    Financial Services

    This is a service for schools who wish to have weekly visits from a member of the Financial services team to complete and report on a schools monthly financial position.

    Plan A is the more commonly used phrase to describe our full bursar service. This  covers the end-to-end process of bookkeeping and reporting including year-end reporting and submissions required by Hertfordshire County Council. While Plan B  or our enhanced bursar service is for schools that wish to and are able to take responsibility for routine financial processing, but require additional support in meeting reporting and budget monitoring requirements.

    The details are outlined in the contract services document sent to schools on xxxxxx

    It depends on the reasons for the additional time that is needed. If you would like support with additional time for bookkeeping and reporting, we would be delighted to discuss changing your contract. Please speak to the Service Delivery Manager for your area at any time. Please also speak to your Service Delivery Manager to book additional services as pay as you use basis. This may include budget planning, costing out different scenarios etc..

    This package includes  the financial accounting/ reporting software which is used to record a school’s financial transactions and provide reports to school leaders and Hertfordshire County Council. This is provided as part of the full bursar service ( plan A) but is an additional charge for all other contract types. This includes access to our Financial Services Helpline which provides support on financial reporting on both what your school needs to do and when to do it. This also includes access to our FS bulletins which give more advice and support throughout the year. We offer RM Finance and FMS6 finance systems to schools maintained by Hertfordshire.

    This is the Access financial planning software (previously known as HCSS). We populate this with helpful guidance on planning assumptions . We also provide bulletins containing guidance on  what to do and when.

    The financial system and helpline relates to the provision of the accounting software on which you run bookkeeping and financial reporting. The Budget systems relates to the financial planning software on which schools create budget plans and scenarios over 1 to 5 years.

    This service covers the book keeping and financial reporting of your fund account. We have chosen to identify this separately from 2020-21 to ensure that it is clear that schools have contracted support for accounting for fund account transactions.

    Under SFVS, schools are required to have an independent audit of their fund account. We offer this service which is delivered by a separate team within HfL Financial Services, overseen by a qualified auditor  so that you can be confident of an independent review. These must be booked by contacting fss.admin@hertsforlearning.co.uk

    This service cannot be delivered by your regular adviser.

    Governance Services

    Access to training courses in venues around the county (held remotely if necessary) at a discounted rate plus:

    • 1 in-house course
    • Attendance at New Governor Induction (full day course)
    • Reduced rate (£15 per person) to attend 2 hour group training sessions
    • Reduced rate to attend accredited Safer Recruitment training (full day course)
    • Access to our suite of online learning courses.

    Yes, however this will incur an additional charge. Contact our helpdesk at governance@hertsforlearning.co.uk or call 01438 544487 for details.

    All governor training is via GovernorHub. Please select the ‘training’ tab in the HfL Governance Services area (accessed from the “washing line” at the top of your page) and search for the course that you are interested in attending or completing online. The Governance Training Team can be contacted if you have any queries either via email at gov.courses@hertsforlearning.co.uk or calling 01438 544478.

    For a list of courses visit our website at www.hertsforlearning.co.uk/governors and select the ‘governor support box’; ‘governor training – training courses and summary of content’ option to download a list of courses. Please check the column on the right hand side of the list to confirm it is available as an in house session. Once you have selected the course name, obtain 3 dates (ideally giving us at least more than 4 calendar weeks’ notice) convenient to your governing board and email your request to ‘book your in-house entitlement and preferred dates’ to gov.courses@hertsforlearning.co.uk stating:

    • name of your school (including school number)
    • name of course you would like to arrange
    • name and title of person response should be sent to – e.g. training co-ordinator; school business manager
    • your preferred dates

    The Governance Training Team will seek trainer availability and confirm final details by return to the named person.

    Only in exceptional circumstances such as an Ofsted inspection taking place or poor weather conditions and this must be agreed.  Your in-house must be booked and delivered within the financial year (April to March). Failure to use it means you will lose the session.

    The service is targeted specifically to Chairs of Governors (CoG) offering access to professional advice on CoG matters; support with difficult issues that may arise; training, networking and mentoring opportunities. The full-day ‘Becoming an Effective Chair’ training enables new or aspiring Chairs to fully understand their strategic role and understand what makes a good CoG. The training content is linked to the Governance 3 core functions and the DfE Competency Framework for Governors. This course can also be accessed by Vice Chairs and Chairs of Committees.

    Further opportunities to access dedicated online training and view monthly bulletins is provided through a CoG portal via GovernorHub, as well as termly networking opportunities at strategic briefings, and New CoGs invited to attend a ‘New CoG welcome event’ held annually. 

    If you purchase our HfL Clerking Service you do not need to purchase the Clerks’ training and support package separately as it is included with the service*. If you employ your own clerk and would like support for them, you can purchase the training and support package. The training and support offered is the same in that it provides opportunities to attend specific clerks’ training and termly clerks’ networks; helpdesk support on clerking matters; receipt of termly suggested agenda items; and access to the Knowledge Tab (a portal within GovernorHub) providing clerks with access to a wealth of resources.

    *If you use an HfL Clerk for FGB meetings and a school employee for committee meetings, the clerks’ training and support can be purchased for your employee at a discounted rate. Please contact clerking@hertsforlearning.co.uk for costs.

    It is a new online advisory service with access ‘in one place’ to the latest information, practical guidance and a wealth of resources for governors and clerks. The Knowledge Tab is accessible through GovernorHub so no more searching various websites. The service can be purchased as a standalone, or is included in one of the other governance packages (see governance contract information for details).

    All Hertfordshire local authority maintained schools have access to the standard package, which enables the clerk to governors to maintain membership details of the governing body.  However, upgrading to the premium package enables access to all board members and a number of other features – details can be found by selecting the ‘GovernorHub’ option at:


    For the cost to upgrade please email your request to governance@hertsforlearning.co.uk or call 01438 544487

    HASG is an independent third party organisation supporting and informing school governors, ensuring their views are heard and promoting high standards of school governance; HfL work in partnership with the HASG. More information about HASG can be found at www.hertsgovernors.org or by emailing your question to admin@hertsgovernors.org.

    GDPR Services

    Change in services from April 2020:

    From the 1st April 2020 we will offer the following GDPR services

    • GDPR Toolkit with email and telephone support
    • Enhanced DPO Service.  HfL will be your nominated DPO and provide a wide range of support

    We have now migrated this service when purchasing our GDPR toolkit.  Contact us for email support.  Alternatively please call xxxx for telephone support

    Our toolkit provides a subscription to the GDPR Toolkit plus support via email and telephone.

    Our Enhanced DPO Service provides HfL as the named DPO, onsite visits and more in-depth support, along with the toolkit subscription.

    The GDPR toolkit can be purchased here. Alternatively please call 01438 544464 or email: info@hertsforlearning.co.uk for assistance in purchasing this product.

    To purchase the Enhanced DPO Service, please contact gdpr@hertsforlearning.co.uk.

    Support via email and telephone is provided through the ICT Service Desk in the same way as other support services.  If you have access to the ICT Service Desk Customer portal then you can also log your enquiry directly.

    Email: gdpr@sd.hertsforlearning.co.uk   

    Telephone: 01438 544466 option 1 then option 1

    Website Support

    Please email schoolwebsitesupport@hertsforlearning.co.uk or call 01438 844811. If you don’t already have a support contract with us, we will still try to help, but you will be asked to sign up to an annual support contract.

    Please email schoolwebsitesupport@hertsforlearning.co.uk or call 01438 844811. We can discuss your requirements over the phone or arrange a short visit to talk through the options available.

    Please email schoolwebsitesupport@hertsforlearning.co.uk or call 01438 844811. We can arrange a half day visit to check you have all the necessary information on your website and do a full audit to check the structure, contents, consistency, ease of access etc and suggest improvements.

    The ‘new website’ option provides you with telephone/email/Wordpress support for the remainder of the financial year in which you started the contract. After that you are under no obligation to continue with any level of support, but most schools choose to have 2 half day visits a year, which includes telephone/email support. You can also just take the telephone/email support and then use pay-as-you-use visits if required.

    HR Services

    They both contain direct connectivity to our experienced team of HR Advisors, with unlimited telephone and email access, and access to our online portal of management resources. The Full HR service also provides the additional benefits of:

    • On-site HR support in agreed face to face meetings to support school leaders address sensitive employment topics
    • Implementation support for planned restructures or change projects, with attendance at agreed stages/briefings
    • On-site support from one of our advisors in formal meetings - including potential terminations, appeals and most scenarios where a sanction could be imposed.

    The cost is calculated per employee. We base this on the physical headcount within the school establishment, using data taken from either payroll or workforce census submissions and verified by the school. This is due to the nature of the subject matter we support with school leaders; individual people management issues differ widely in their complexity, irrespective of the number of contracted hours for a staff member.

    Yes - HfL provide a managed Occupational Health service, run by Optima Health, one of the UK’s largest dedicated providers. Our annual subscription provides for unlimited usage of both the pre-employment screening and management referrals facilities, including telephone and/or face-to-face consultations with qualified OH practitioners.

    Details are available with the HR & Recruitment section of our HFL webpages, and are also included within our contract services communications.

    Technology in Schools

    Please note: where there is a technical or logistical issue this would need to be dealt with by the ICT team directly due to the complexity and specific subject knowledge needed. Please contact the service desk on 01438 544466.

    Support is underpinned by our ITIL compliant Service Desk where proactive support and advice is provided by knowledgeable staff that fully understand specialist educational requirements across a range of solutions, including Apple iOS, Google for Education, Managed Wireless and cloud backup.

    Any issues should be raised via the Service Desk on help@sd.hertsforlearning.co.uk or call on 01438 844777.

    We have a technical triage team available Monday – Friday 8:15am and 5:00pm (4pm on Friday) to help support your problems. We will always aim to resolve your issues within our service level agreements. In the event of an emergency where your problem can not be resolved remotely, we will arrange to send out one of our technicians.

    All schools have designated slots so we will need to review what options we have available in your local area. Please call the service desk on 01438 844777 and ask to speak with the contract services manager to discuss options.

    We have a team of experienced account managers and Technology in Schools advisors that can talk you through Ed-Tech, sharing case studies and testimonials from other schools to help you make the correct decision.

    Our account management team can work with you to implement a 5 year plan with a phased approach to help spread the costs over the years.

    Teach in Herts

    No. The Teach in Herts service is to support schools in Hertfordshire only.

    The school will have a log-in on the Teach in Herts website (www.teachinherts.com).

    'The work to establish HfL and to take it through its first couple of years of operation has been well done and the efforts by the team are much appreciated. There seems to be a genuine commitment to listening to the customer and this is useful for schools but will also ensure that there is a strong future for us all. Thank you for the work to date – much appreciated.'

    'We are fortunate to have Herts for Learning – so many counties have very little. The support from HIPs, the teaching and learning advisors and the other support systems is particularly useful. Initiatives to provide assessment materials are also something Herts for Learning does well.'

    Contact details