HFL Education contract services provide maintained schools with a portfolio of services that can be purchased to help facilitate school improvement and business support.

Contract services planning and renewal process

Annual contract service renewals are released to schools in the Spring 1 term and provides a proposal of services that your school may wish to purchase. 

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@hfleducation.org

General FAQs

When will I receive my contract?

Proposals are sent to maintained schools during the first week of February.

Who will receive a copy of the contract?

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.

Can I have another copy of the contract sent to me?

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

What is included in the contract?

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

What if I want to make changes to my contract?

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
If I have not received my contract, what should I do?

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@hfleducation.org or call 01438 544464

Where will I find the terms and conditions?

Our terms and conditions can be found here .  Please review all sections including section 6 relating to term and termination of contract services. For Governance training please see our training terms and conditions. Section 7 relates to cancellation.

Who do I contact if I have a problem?

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

Will I have a breakdown of details for my technology in schools and finance contract?

A full-service breakdown is available on your contract. If you require further information regarding these services, please do not hesitate to contact us at contracts@hfleducation.org

Do I need to sign and return the contract?

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 10th March 2023. Changes received after this date will fall in line with our terms and conditions, section 6.   

Will I receive a final contract?

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

How does HFL know what I want to purchase?

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

What happens if I convert to an academy?

If your school is joining an academy, please get in touch with us as soon as possible by emailing contracts@hfleducation.org. We will work with you to determine what support is required before and after the conversion.

How do I find out about my PAYU services?

If you would like details about our PAYU services please contact us on info@hfleducation.org

Advisory services

I am a Secondary school – why does my contract not show the amount for the SEA support I currently purchase?

The contract service is for the financial year 2023/24 (April 2023 to March 2024); the secondary 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.

When will I know who has been allocated as my HIP/SEA?

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, 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 Directors of Early Years, Primary, Secondary and Special Education 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.

Can I choose my HIP?

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.

If I purchase the four day saver package can I use if for what I want?

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 the SEA/HIP needs to write a report will this be taken from the allocated time or does the school have to pay extra?

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.

Can a school purchase extra days after the contract has renewed?

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

If I purchase the four day saver package do they have to be split equally between English and maths?

No. You can allocate the support to the needs of your school.

Does the support have to be used for just consultancy?

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

Can I choose my TLA adviser?

HFL will make every effort to allocate the requested adviser, 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.

Are the visits structured to a defined set of requirements?

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

Early years advisory services

What is included in the Early Years two day saver package?

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

What elements are covered as part of the package?

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
  • 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)
Is there an option for some of the package to be used remotely?

Advisers are well equipped to deliver support online in agreement with the school and dependent on focus. The option for staff meetings to be delivered online can also be considered.

Do we need to use our support package within this year?

Yes, in line with the terms and conditions as set out in your contract, the package would need to be completed within the contract period.

Can we increase the number of days in our package?

Yes, this can be agreed at the point of setting up the package or increased during the year.

Data management services

What is the Data Management Services (DMS) charge for?

The DMS Team provides support for a school’s Management Information System, such as Arbor, Bromcom, Scholarpack and SIMS.  This includes Service Desk support and guidance documentation via the DMS Portal.  

Why does my contract show licence costs where previously with SIMS it didn’t?

As the school is now purchasing the licence through the HFL MIS Framework the contract is with HFL therefore the MIS suppliers Arbor, Bromcom and Scholarpack charge HFL upfront for all licence Fee’s and then HFL reclaim the licence cost from schools.

What is the Framework Fee of 2% or 5%?

The Framework Fee is based on a percentage of your total licence costs of either 2% or 5% dependent on whether DMS Support has been purchased. This is explained in Schedule 1 of your licence agreement.

Why has my contract price gone up?

In addition to any small pricing increase to cover inflation, an additional increase may be reflective of changes in your pupil numbers on roll.  If the school has increased or decreased in numbers since the previous year, this can result in a change in price.

Contact the DMS team

For further details, or any additional queries not covered here, please email the DMS Team at help@sd.hfleducation.org or call the Service Desk on 01438 544466 option 1, option 1.

Financial services

What plan am I on?

The details can be found on your contract services document. Find out more about our financial services.

What if I need more time with my financial adviser?

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..

What is the financial systems helpline/software support?

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.

What is the Budget systems helpline/software support?

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.

Why are the two helpline/software systems separate on my contract?

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.

Governance Services

What do I get with my Governor training package?

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 (half day course)
  • Reduced rate (£15 per person) to attend 2 hour group training sessions
  • Reduced rate (£100 per person) to attend accredited Safer Recruitment training (full day course)
  • Access to our suite of online learning courses.
Can we book a second in-house course if required?

Yes, however this will incur an additional charge. Contact our training team at gov.courses@hfleducation.org or call 01438 544478 for details.

How do I book onto face to face training or complete an online course?

All governor training is via GovernorHub and should be accessed using your single sign on. 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@hfleducation.org or calling 01438 544478.

We purchase the governor training subscription? Where can I find a list of in-house courses and how do we book our entitlement?

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@hfleducation.org 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.

Can we carry our in-house entitlement over?

Only in exceptional circumstances such as an Ofsted inspection taking place or poor weather conditions and this must be agreed with the Governance Training team. 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.

What are the benefits of the Chairs’ Service?

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 support and dedicated training can be accessed through the dedicated Chairs Portal via GovernorHub, where CoGs will find a wide range of supporting material together with the popular monthly Chairs Bulletin and a copy of the Chairs Handbook. Termly Strategic Briefings are held online together with the newly launched Chairs Network meetings and the annual New Chairs welcome event, all allowing CoGs to keep up to date together with support and networking opportunities with fellow CoGs.

What does HfL clerking include?

Contact clerking@@hfleducation.org to obtain details of a full term of service. General support includes: agenda setting; distribution of papers; attendance and drafting minutes; advice where needed during/after meeting; distribution of minutes/keeping database up to date re membership.

We purchase a set number of meetings for the year.  What happens if we need an additional meeting?

Additional meetings can be purchased during the year and we would request you contact clerking@hfleducation.org for availability and cost.  Such meetings will be charged as ‘pay as you use’.

What happens if we don’t use the meetings we have purchased for clerking for that year?

Please only purchase the number of meetings required. We are unable to provide refunds for meetings not used or allow them to be carried over. The 6 meeting package has been discounted and should only be signed up to for boards who are confident they will hold this number of meetings per financial year (or more).  We offer a 3 meeting package, which can be increased to 4 or 5 if your board hold that number of meetings. To discuss your clerking subscription requirements please contact clerking@hfleducation.org

I have bought into the Clerking Service but do not have the Clerks’ training and support package; why is this?

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@hfleducation.org for costs.

I buy Clerks Training and Support. Who is entitled to access the training, advice and clerks’ resources?

The package is for a named person who should be identified on GovernorHub as ‘clerk’. 

What is the difference between GovernorHub ‘standard’ and ‘premium’?

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, and allow access to all members for training’.  However upgrading to the premium package enables all members to access a number of additional features – noticeboard/calendar/document folder.


For the cost to upgrade please email your request to governance@hfleducation.org or call 01438 544487

Can I purchase The Key through HfL Governance?

Yes, however we only sell The Key for School Governors (not School Leaders or Trust Leaders).  You must have a GovernorHub Premium subscription to enable access and we offer a package at a discounted rate. Contact governance@hfleducation.org or call 01438 544487 for prices. 

GDPR services

What are the GDPR services?

We 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
What are the main differences between Option 1 (Toolkit) and Option 2 (Enhanced DPO Service)?

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.

How do I sign up/cancel/change my subscription?

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

To purchase the Enhanced DPO Service, please contact gdpr.sd@hfleducation.org

I chose not to auto-renew my subscription online but am still being charged

Please contact us to discuss at info@hfleducation.org

How do I access the email and telephone support?

Email: gdpr.sd@hfleducation.org

Telephone: 01438 544464 Option 3 then Option 4

Website support

I have a problem with my website. Who do I contact?

Please email schoolwebsitesupport@hfleducation.org or call 01438 567328. 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.

How do I find out more about the ‘new website’ option?

Please email schoolwebsitesupport@hfleducation.org or call 01438 567328. We can discuss your requirements over the phone or arrange a short visit to talk through the options available.

Is my website compliant with the statutory requirements?

Please email schoolwebsitesupport@hfleducation.org or call 01438 567328. 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.

You have developed a new website for our school. What follow on support is available?

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

What is the difference between the Core HR Advisory service and the Full HR Advisory service?

Both services give customers direct connectivity to our experienced team of HR Advisors, with unlimited telephone and email access to the helpdesk, as well as access to our online portal of HR resources. The Full HR service also provides the additional benefits of:

  • HR presence in specific agreed meetings to support school leaders address sensitive employment topics
  • support in managing risks in complex scenarios and difficult conversations
  • remote and in-person support to consider a range of options without adjourning hearings
  • implementation support for planned restructure/or change projects, with remote or in-person attendance at agreed stages
  • HR adviser support in formal remote or in-person meetings including disciplinary or performance management hearings, appeals and most scenarios where a dismissal sanction could be imposed
How is the HR Advisory service cost calculated? If my member of staff is part time, does the school still pay the full per person amount?

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

What additional services are provided by HR Services?

The HR Service provide a range of services for customers outside of the core or full HR Advisory contract offer. For more details about these additional services please see HR Service or contact us on hrservices@hfleducation.org or call 01438 544463.


What is the HRBP service?

Our HR strategic Business Partner Service is designed to align your human resources with your vision, values, and objectives.  The HRBP service will provide strategic help, advice and guidance for senior leaders.  This can be high-level strategy or more of a bespoke business partnering element depending on where you are on your journey. 

What is an HR Business Partner?

You will be allocated a HR Business Partner who is independent and a professional expert.  They will work closely with your Senior Leadership Team to offer external support in identifying, developing, and implementing strategic HR management plans that are designed to meet your core objectives.  

How will my school/trust be supported?

Bespoke HR guidance by gaining a detailed understanding of your school, setting or trust, its successes, challenges, and your aims.  Your dedicated HR Business Partner will help you create bespoke strategies and develop people plans and practice to address your specific needs.  Whether it’s recruitment and retention, performance management, or employee development. 

How does the HR Business Partner service work?

Your dedicated HR Business Partner will work with you and your senior leaders to critically evaluate current practice, build your people plan, manage talent and develop approaches that achieve your agreed objectives. 

We can offer support and guidance in person and on-site, or remotely depending on your specific needs, ensuring your get the right support in the way that works best for you and your teams.  

What are the benefits of the HRBP service?

Our team of HR professionals come with extensive experience in the education industry.  We understand the nuances, challenges, and regulatory requirements that educational establishments face, enabling the team to provide targeted and effective solutions.

We don’t just act as consultants.  We work as close or as distant as you see fit, collaborating with your leadership team to empower them with the knowledge and tools they need.

  • Honest and transparent skills
  • Practical help and guidance
  • Bespoke advice support
  • Fair transparent pricing that reflects our belief that as much funding as possible should go into frontline education.
  • Great efficiency – our exceptional service means we save you time and money, ensuring you have more of both to do the important stuff. 
Who do I contact for more information

Hena Mahmood and Julie Thompson look after the HRBP service. 

They can be contacted via the helpdesk on 01438 544463 or email hrservices@hfleducation.org 

Technology in schools

Technical or logistical enquiries

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.

How will my ICT be supported?

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.

I have a technical problem, who should I call?

Any issues should be raised via the Service Desk on help@sd.hfleducation.org 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.

We would like to change the timing of our technical visits. Who should we contact?

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.

There are so many Educational Technologies out there, how do we choose which one is best for our school?

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.

We are keen to develop our IT offer but budgets are tight. How can HFL help?

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

Can the school sign-up to Teach in Herts if it is an out of county school?

The service is available to schools and educational settings in or neighbouring Hertfordshire.

How does the school access Teach in Herts?

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

The school has lost the log-in details or has forgotten the details; what do they do?

Email teachinherts@hfleducation.org to recover the log-in details. 

Contact our Contract Services team to find out how we can help you.