Transitioning to an HR provider with MAT expertise

Case study: Omnia Learning Trust 

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Omnia Learning Trust

About The Trust  

Omnia Learning Trust, located within the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, operates as an educational charity with Academy Sponsorship status, sanctioned by the Department for Education. The Trust currently oversees four other London Borough Primary Schools, rising to five in 2026, with the aim of supporting schools in creating exceptional learning environments and ensuring the delivery of top-tier education.  

I would highly recommend the move to Juniper; it was a smooth transition for all in the Trust.
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Bethan Gorsuch Chief Operating Officer for Omnia Learning Trust

The background to the partnership 

In September 2023, Omnia Learning Trust’s CEO approached Juniper Education for HR assistance and guidance within the Multi-Academy Trust (MAT) landscape. Their specific needs included addressing challenges related to absence management, staff retention, breaches of the code of conduct, equitable treatment for staff with children, absence policies, employee retention incentives, competency issues, and optimising performance management processes.  

Seeking MAT experts 

After eight years with a different education solutions provider, Omnia Learning Trust wanted to change from a traditional school approach to a more practical Multi-Academy Trust (MAT) focus. The Trust actively looked for an HR provider with MAT expertise to help with this transition. Facing challenges in absence tracking, as mentioned above, they recognised the need to reshape staff mindsets, dealing with issues like discipline, capability, and pay progression.  

Bethan Gorsuch, Chief Operating Officer (COO) for Omnia Learning Trust, further explains the challenges the Trust was facing:  

“The Trust needed an HR provider that understood the MAT landscape. We also needed HR advice to support us when making potentially risky decisions (so that we were informed about our options and the potential risks), helping us make an educated decision based on this.”  

With the challenges clearly laid out, Juniper's team of expert education HR consultants was eager to take on the task. 

Juniper's impactful approach

Juniper effectively provided Omnia Learning Trust with comprehensive remote HR consultancy services. A dedicated HR consultant served as a primary point of contact, delivering customised consultancy with valuable insights, advice, and guidance, addressing a range of complex HR challenges. Communication to the Trust is via email or phone, utilising the on-demand HR advice line. Additionally, the Trust benefits from access to Juniper's dedicated online HR portal, including the HR Connected service and online education-specific HR Knowledge Hub, facilitating support for routine queries and complex employee relations issues. On the support available to them, the Trust said: 

“We feel there is now a collegiate approach, very much working as a team on issues rather than as an external advisor as before. As a Trust, we have recently been through three big HR issues for the first time and have felt guided and supported by Juniper’s team throughout. We are learning as we go but are happy with the service received so far”.  

Achieving results 

Throughout the partnership, Juniper has been a crucial support in challenging HR situations, creating a collaborative approach that has instilled a sense of teamwork within the Trust. The transition from the previous provider was seamless, and Omnia Learning Trust values the ongoing helpful and knowledgeable support from Juniper HR consultants. 

On the move to Juniper, Bethan commented:  

“I would highly recommend the move to Juniper; it was a smooth transition for all in the Trust. Our HR advisor is fully supportive and on hand to assist as needed.”  

Bethan went on to say: 

“Our dedicated consultant has been really supportive. We’ve had a good experience every time we have needed to talk to her.” 

Juniper’s casework support to date 

Juniper has provided substantial casework support to Omnia Learning Trust since the start of the partnership, playing a crucial role in tackling diverse challenges encountered by the Trust: 

  1. Disciplinary Hearing:

A complex disciplinary hearing required careful handling, and Juniper provided full support both at the hearing and in the pre-hearing stages. The case was challenging, necessitating comprehensive support post-hearing to ensure a satisfactory resolution. 

  1. Sickness Cases:

The Trust had several issues related to staff sickness cases requiring expert intervention. Juniper’s team offered comprehensive support throughout all processes related to staff sickness cases. 

  1. Pay Progressions:

Challenges surrounding pay progressions prompted the need for assistance. Juniper provides ongoing support, addressing various queries and concerns related to pay progressions. 

The casework examples showcase Juniper's dedication to providing the Trust with bespoke solutions and full support in handling sensitive HR challenges, ensuring success for each unique case. 

In summary 

The partnership between Omnia Learning Trust and Juniper Education has facilitated a smooth transition and effective management of complex HR challenges, contributing to the Trust's success in the MAT landscape.