Herts for Learning (HfL) is the UK’s largest schools-owned company, providing a broad range of education and business services, which support schools, academies and settings in delivering improved outcomes for children. With an excellent reputation, HfL works with 99% of Hertfordshire schools and over 3,000 schools and settings nationally, with 450 staff. The organisation provides training, support and challenge to staff and governors at all levels. Since 2013, over 250,000 delegates have attended HfL's training events or conferences, the majority of which are now delivered digitally.
HfL operates with a not-for-profit ethos and is majority owned by Hertfordshire schools, with Hertfordshire County Council (HCC) owning the remaining. In 2020–21, HfL generated £22.2m, 65% from Hertfordshire schools, academies and settings, 26% from HCC, and 9% from out of county. There is clear evidence demonstrating the positive impact HfL has had on Hertfordshire schools to achieve better outcomes for children. At the start of 2020, 90.1% of Hertfordshire primaries were classified by Ofsted as good or better and primary schools engaging HfL over an extended period achieve KS2 results on average 8% points higher than those that don’t. Schools working with HfL also demonstrate improved financial stability; according to the DfE, just 3% of Hertfordshire maintained schools are in deficit, compared with 10% nationally.
HfL is at a really exciting time in its journey. With a solid financial position and the recent digitisation of a number of its services, there is now significant opportunity to develop and grow. HfL has now completed a major strategic review, which will see a renewed focus on delivering excellence in Hertfordshire, whilst expanding the breadth of the services to more schools, academies and settings in Hertfordshire and nationally. As the organisation evolves, the need to continue to become more commercial whilst retaining its social enterprise ethos will be key.