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Strategy Consultancy

We ensure that organisations and their leaders are achieving successful improvement and development through careful strategic planning and delivery. Examples of our work include external-reviews of governance, the co-ordination of peer reviews between organisations, CEO performance management, and the delivery of visioning days and business planning. We also support organisations in bidding for additional work or contracts to ensure their continued sustainable development and growth.

We work with organisations including multi-academy trusts; teaching school alliances; local authorities; individual schools; CPD providers and other organisations to enable them to manage change and develop successfully.

To ensure the highest standards of advice and recommendations, we draw on our reputation as a thought-leader, analysing research, key developments and the latest evidence around best practice. Our team of consultants and associates are all experts in their fields, ensuring that each project is informed and delivered by the best. Our work includes:

 

Organisation Development Workshops:

Our Development Sessions are designed either for trust boards, SLTs, or for these groups in conjunction with their staff and wider to stakeholders, to undertake visioning, strategic planning and development planning for their organisation.

Our development sessions are intended to support leaders to navigate the changing policy, societal and economic trends that impact on their organisations and will have a key influence of success going forward. We draw on our extensive research and analysis of organisational development, ongoing monitoring of policy and research, and our work with many dozens of CEOs and trust boards nationwide.

We work carefully with your organisation to identify the key objectives you wish to achieve, the stakeholders you wish to engage, and to reflect the context and circumstances that your organisation faces. Our development sessions are considered to be engaging, inspiring, insightful and – most importantly of all – of practical benefit in taking forward a successful organisational vision and strategy.

“Forum Strategy enabled our trust to review its progress and inform future planning. The quality of the information and presentation provided was excellent and mades things clear and easily able to be understood.

Forum Strategy provided exactly what was required as our MAT reached a critical time in its development. As a board of trustees, we have been able to make clear decisions for our future direction and Forum provided us with a positive starting point.

I would unreservedly recommend them to schools to facilitate accurate assessment of their present position and what is required for future planning.”

Pam Burton Chair Trustees, Brighter Futures MAT, 2017

 

Board Reviews

This process is intended to support charity and academy trust boards to reflect on their effectiveness, areas for development, and training needs. Organisations such as the Department for Education have suggested that boards look to undertake a thorough, preferably external review of their own effectiveness and readiness for future growth / development. This is to ensure that a trust has a clear view of the skills it will need in its next phase of growth and robust plans in place to fill any gaps through training or recruitment.

The review includes a series of workshops, meetings and interviews with Forum Strategy, questionnaires and a comprehensive final report with clear recommendations. Our work is informed by associates and staff with a background in corporate governance, organisational development, and advanced legal training. It is carefully informed by best practice thinking on corporate governance and organisational development.

The format is as follows:

  • An introductory workshop providing an overview of the process and why it matters to the board’s ongoing development (1 hour).
  • A 360 degree review of the effectiveness of the board through surveys and one-to-one interviews (focusing on areas such as strategic planning, composition and delegation, committee structures, challenge & relationships, stakeholder relationships, training, understanding and use of data etc.)
  • A skills-audit based on wide ranging research into the competencies and ‘experience and qualifications metrics’ for governing boards.
  • A succession planning audit and review of recruitment strategy for future appointments.
  • A workshop session discussing key outcomes from the review and ‘next step’ planning (3 hours).
  • A final report on the outcomes of the process and next steps.

 

“Isle Education Trust Board worked with Forum Strategy to ensure independent input and challenge  for our Board evaluation.

The process was explained to all Directors at the beginning to ensure ‘buy in’ and to make clear the importance of the exercise.

The Forum team were ultimate professionals taking us through the process in a logical, straightforward manner and ensuring that key themes were captured.

The timing for us was critical and led in to further strategy events and Trust-wide engagement. Through this exercise we were able to verify our strategy and ensure a relevant plan for the future. We will now move forward with confidence. Thank- you.”

IET Board

 

MAT Peer-to-Peer Reviews

We strongly believe that the success of multi-academy trusts is based on focused collaboration and peer to peer learning. During times of growth and development, it is important to gain the insight and challenge of others to help inform our strategy and planning. Forum Strategy’s MAT to MAT peer review model is based on the very latest thinking and best practice in this area.

Not only is this programme grounded in the ethos and principles of effective peer review ( our five ‘C’s’ – concentrated, confidential, challenging, considerate and constructive), but it is also informed by our work with dozens of MATs and the very latest research and understanding available around the successful and sustainable growth of MATs.

Indeed, Forum Strategy facilitates and provides leadership development to three regional MAT CEO networks in England – working with dozens of academy trusts across the country. We have developed a strong reputation for both training and consultancy that enables MATs to develop with care.

Our peer review process is based on the involvement of two participant MATs, who work together to undertake the review with supportive facilitation from Forum Strategy.

The peer review process involves:

  • An initial half-day training and self-audit session
  • A self-assessment process against a key development area
  • Two peer review visit days (one per MAT)
  • A feedback session
  • A final report providing a summary and next steps for development.

 

Bid writing

Forum Strategy provides bid writing services, drawing on our expertise in research, communications, and policy and strategy development.

Our team provide advice, project management, and support – including PR and corporate comms development, throughout the process. Our regular funding and grants briefing subscription service also ensures that many of our clients remain appraised and updated on many of the funding opportunities available across the charities, third- and education sectors.

We have successfully supported organisations for bidding for projects worth millions of pounds in terms of investment – including the establishment of new free schools.

At Forum Strategy we take on board responsibility for helping you to navigate the process of bid writing and securing funding, whilst also providing the highest standards of research, drafting and project management.

 

CEO Performance Management

Forum Strategy provides external advice to boards on the performance management of CEOs, drawing on our thinking, research, and understanding of the context in which organisations currently find themselves in. We work closely with boards in setting priorities that are aligned with the organisation’s vision and strategic priorities, ensuring that performance management is maximised as a lever for organisational development and accountability, whilst also contributing towards supporting the CEOs professional development.

 

Strategic and funding & grants briefings.

“It is vital for CEOs to block off meaningful amounts of uninterrupted time, to give themselves space to think, reflect and prepare.” Harvard Business Review 2018

At Forum Strategy, we know how challenging it can be for CEOs, trustees and other senior leaders to access and reflect upon the latest intelligence and analysis. Our strategic briefing service ensures that leaders have access to timely, relevant and insightful updates – both general and sector specific – so that they are sufficiently informed to plan ahead and respond to emerging issues that may affect their organisations.

Our strategy briefing summarises key research, policy developments, and opinion, and is highly valued by many CEOs, trustees and senior leaders across the country as a source of intelligence and for supporting their ongoing professional knowledge and development.  Our funding and grants briefing – which is published each fortnight – is an essential read for any organisation that is committed to generating income and ensuring its sustainability by accessing wider resources.

“Thank you to Forum Strategy for your helpful weekly briefings. I really appreciate getting them & am grateful to your team for keeping me on my toes and thinking ahead all the time!” Regional Director of a MAT.

 

In the last twelve months our projects have included:

  • Provided strategic development advice and support to numerous multi-academy trusts. Learn more about how we support the development of academy trusts here;
  • Provided leadership development training to leadership teams. Learn more here;
  • Advised teaching school alliances on their development with reference to education policy, our experience and knowledge of successful organisational development, our marketing expertise and rigorous market research;
  • Supported individual schools and governing bodies to consider the implications of academisation and how they can prepare to make the right decisions in the months and years ahead;
  • Designed, developed and delivered a number of CPD programmes – including new head teacher induction programmes and recruitment and retention training for multi-academy trusts and teaching school alliances;
  • Developed leadership development materials for the senior team at one of the country’s largest multi-academy trusts;
  • Provided bid writing consultancy and project management support – including for numerous successful free school bids;
  • Undertaken successful bid writing projects for schools wishing to access additional funding and resources.
  • Developed marketing and communications strategies for academy trusts, including recruitment campaigns for senior roles and initial teacher training programmes.

In addition, Forum Education delivers (working alongside our partners) four regional networks for academy trust Chief Executives. Many MATs and other education providers subscribe to Forum Education’s strategic briefings, which provide leaders with a weekly update on the latest developments across education policy, research, funding & resources. Find out more about our networks here

For more information, please contact: [email protected]