Serco Education

Tom James Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship for Schools

Tom James is undertaking the Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship (CMDA) for Schools qualification delivered by Serco Education in partnership with the University of Gloucester.

Tom is Deputy Business Director of the Newman Catholic Collegiate Multi Academy Trust (MAT), a collaboration of nine Catholic academies in Stoke on Trent, employing 450 staff. Tom, along with his team of Finance Officers, is responsible for the strategic finance of the MAT with a focus on the Primary Academy portfolio.

Tom first heard about the CMDA opportunity through his line manager who had received information on this unique qualification through the Institute of School Business Leaders.

Tom said when considering taking up the course “my background is in Auditing as a Chartered Accountant and I was looking to expand my knowledge in other areas of the school business such as HR or premises management, among others. I aim to become a Chief Executive of a MAT in the future and when I reviewed the course content it seemed to tick every box.”

As a Levy paying employer, the MAT was able to utilise their Apprenticeship Levy pot in order to fund the full CMDA qualification which includes a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management.

Tom is part of one of the first cohorts of CMDA for School Business Professional apprentices run by Serco, who formed part of the Trailblazer (design committee) for the apprenticeship programme.

The 3-year programme comprises 18 modules, 6 to be completed each year. Tom said of his experience so far; “we study 2 modules at a time which are broadly aligned to the school terms which is helpful. I have the assistance of my coach and the online materials we have access to are very helpful.”

“I have a naturally inquisitive nature and so far I have really enjoyed the opportunity to research and understand the development of the school business management profession. I think understanding how something came about really helps to give useful context in applying learning in my work today.”

When asked if Tom would recommend this course to colleagues he said “Yes I absolutely would. My advice would be when taking on any form of study in addition to the day job it’s important to consider how you will manage your time and other commitments but the CMDA for Schools course is so tailored to academies and the school environment there really is nothing else like it.”

Find out more about the Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship for Schools