Welfare Fund

Insignis Academy Trust Welfare Fund

Why do we have a Welfare Fund?

Insignis Academy Trust (IAT) recognises that there are families of students (or students who are adults in their own right) in our Academies that might need support to overcome ‘barriers to learning’, due to financial reasons.

This may be due to unexpected and unplanned financial difficulties due to life events such as sickness, death, loss of employment, loss of housing or separation. 

A Welfare Fund has therefore been established to help support overcoming some “barriers to learning” 

Which students are eligible?

IAT will consider requests for Welfare Funding on behalf of the following groups of students:

  • students in receipt of free school meals

  • students with disabilities / or with an Education Health & Care Plan

  • students who are or have been in care or are themselves carers for others

  • students with a very low family income or who are experiencing exceptional circumstances creating “barriers to learning”

Other support available

Some students are already eligible for Pupil Premium support or 6th form Student Bursary support or funding through SEND. If the needs cannot be met by these other funds, a Welfare Fund application may be appropriate. 

What can the Welfare Fund be used for?

The Welfare Fund may only be used to support “barriers to learning”. For example:

  • Curriculum trips, visits and year group residential

  • Uniform, shoes or sports kit

  • Emergency travel expenses or contribution to costs of travel to school

  • Revision guides, course books or curriculum materials

  • Equipment or tuition costs for exceptional areas, e.g. music lessons, instruments, sports or other specialist equipment.

  • Technology (hardware/software) to facilitate or enhance learning

  • Other - as mandated by the particular needs of the student

Applications will be considered on a case by case basis. 

How will support be provided? 

If support is agreed, in many cases, IAT will make direct arrangements with relevant suppliers. The Finance team will support this. 

In some cases, a cash grant payment may be the only appropriate option. The Finance Team will also support this, but proof of purchase and / or receipts may be required from the recipients. 

Applying for the fund

All applications will go through the Trust Finance Team (finance@insignis.org.uk) using a simple application form. 

The more information that is provided regarding the student’s circumstances, the more easily the Panel will be able to assess the needs. In many cases we do not need proof of eligibility as we already hold relevant data (e.g. EHCP, SEND, FSM, PP, Bursary entitlement). In some cases, we may need to obtain further information to support a request. We do not want this to be too onerous or intrusive on students or families, however to properly account for the use of the funds the Panel will need assurances that the requests are legitimate. 

Determining requests

A Welfare Fund Panel will assess all requests across IAT to ensure consistency and fairness. This panel comprises one representative of each Academy plus the IAT Chief Operations Officer (or Finance Manager). 

Because there are only limited funds, we have to make sure that the Welfare Fund reach those most in need of support. All support from the Welfare Fund is discretionary and will be allocated depending on need and funds available. 

Monitoring 

IAT will review the use of the Welfare Fund through the IAT Audit & Finance Committee on a termly basis and will also provide an update to the relevant Local Governing Body.

How will I know if an application is successful?

The Welfare Fund Panel will meet each half term to consider applications received up to their meeting dates. 

The outcome of the Panel decisions will be communicated as soon after that meeting as possible. 

(In the event of an urgent matter between panels, the Panel can consider cases between meetings. In the event of an emergency, the relevant Academy Headteachers can agree immediate support up to £500) 

In the event of the Panel not agreeing a case, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) will make a final decision. 

Confidentiality and data protection 

All applications and supporting information will be treated in Confidence and used only for the purposes of determining decisions relating to Welfare Fund applications.  Applications will be held on file for the duration of the Student’s attendance at a Trust school and destroyed when the student leaves, unless they are needed to support Financial Audits in which case as with other financial records they will be retained for the current year plus 6 years.

To apply for the Welfare Fund please complete the application and email to finance@insignis.org.uk