In the last year CJ Learning have provided SMARTcurriculum for School Business & Finance Leaders training to headteachers, deputies and central finance staff in the Trust. I would say that this has been the most effective and useful training on ICFP for our senior leaders, because it starts with the curriculum and is delivered by someone who has a depth of experience and knowledge in curriculum and its organisation and management. We could have delivered training starting with the budget and related that back to staffing deployment etc, but this would not have engaged colleagues in the same way.
This training has made a significant impact on senior leaders and how they see the link between the classroom and the budget. For the first time ever we have deputy headteachers keen to be involved in budget review meetings with the central finance team, as they now fully understand the implications of curriculum decisions on budget. Would thoroughly recommend this training for senior leaders as it will help bridge the gap between curriculum and budgets.
I have worked with Chris for many years on integrated curriculum and finance models across a range of primary, secondary and special schools and in both large and small academy trusts. His wealth of experience, detailed knowledge and understanding of curriculum, qualifications, timetabling and teaching means that this is never just a financial exercise. Every Headteacher with whom I have asked him to work has really valued the dialogue, challenge, support and professionalism Chris brings to all aspects of his work. So much so that he is always asked to return. Chris is equally great at reporting at board level on ICFP across a MAT and demonstrating ways in which schools have carefully considered their curriculum/budget models to ensure efficiency but, with the guidance Chris provides a broad, balanced and ambitious curriculum. This level of expertise is not easily found in the sector at the moment. I would recommend Chris and his team every time.
I commend the SMARTcurriculum App to you as an excellent way to help school leaders target financial resources for maximum impact.
It has been an invaluable tool for up-skilling my leadership team.
Has changed the way we think about curriculum planning, teacher deployment and support staff management
In a few months we have identified curriculum enhancements to the value of £145,000
Most importantly we have a clear road map to ensure that every penny we spend on staffing can be properly measured in terms of outcomes for our young people
I am aware of other tools in use by schools that are free. However, we have appreciated the support available from CJ-Learning, the simplicity of the data entry process and the power of the analysis provided by the App.
We have also had easy access to consultants with headship experience who really understand the challenges faced by schools.
Gave us excellent insight into curriculum development. Chris is committed to improving curriculum design within the constraints of school budgets. His support is invaluable in helping us to achieve our aims and objectives in relation to curriculum, development and improving outcomes.
CJ Learning were recommended to us and we commissioned them to undertake a full curriculum review to ensure effectiveness as well as value for money. The structured thought process and recommendations have enabled us to immediately put in place a curriculum offer that maintains breadth as well as quality. Additional staffing periods will now enable us to instigate a coaching model for those new to teaching as well as additional support for our most vulnerable students. Highly recommended!
I have been extremely impressed by the work of Chris and his team which has enable the school to redesign our curriculum to ensure that it is not only effective in terms of delivering a curriculum that it fit for purpose but has also assisted the school in being able to achieve significant financial savings.
The SMARTcurriculum App is clear and has given our school leaders, governors and Trustees information about the school in terms of staffing, curriculum and timetabling that in the past has not been possible.
Aimed skilfully at leaders of all experiences and provided lots of opportunities to discuss, not just the operational aspect of timetables, but bigger issues affecting schools that can be supported through a quality curriculum and timetable. Chris is patient, thorough and an expert in his field, with a wealth of knowledge and experience. I would recommend this to any leader wanting to develop and improve their curriculum provision.
We have worked with CJ Learning on a number of projects, including our timetable and curriculum. Chris and Martin are knowledgeable, flexible and supportive in their approach. I have been delighted with the support that they have offered us over the last three years.
“As a result of their work I will not have a senior staff use their time stuck in an office writing a timetable, this is not effective or value for money.”
I have found Chris’s advice and counsel invaluable during my first year as Headteacher. His knowledge around curriculum design and management and finances linked to that and staffing is superb and has significantly contributed to the healthy finances of the school. However he has a broader knowledge base, extending across all areas of school leadership that has proven really useful. All that, combined with his ‘coaching’ style have made working with Chris an effective partnership. I would thoroughly recommend him and his work.
SMARTcurriculum facilitated delivery of significant staffing savings (over £1m p.a.) over a three year period, that meant I was able to deliver the academy’s first ever in year balanced budget.
Chris’ own experience of school leadership meant that our work was always grounded in reality and his understanding of the pressures that I was facing as a Principal was evident throughout our work together. It enabled him to offer the very support that I needed. Unlike some other consultants that I have worked with throughout my career his style was calm and understated yet his work was significant and impactful. Phenomenal emotional intelligence. I would recommend him to you without any hesitation.
Our CJ Learning SMARTcurriculum® Review identified in-year savings in the order of £500,000.
Very knowledgeable in his field, detail oriented and delivers on time. I have no hesitation in recommending Chris.
In order to make some large scale strategic changes across a number of Post 16 establishments, CJ Learning was able to review curriculum across a number of institutions, offer possible Post-16 collaborative solutions and help us understand potential alternative curriculum models. We needed to look at this in a very tight time frame and CJ Learning was able to work with speed and keep to all the very challenging deadlines to carry out what was a complex piece of work.