What were the challenges for Cornerstone Academy Trust

The Cornerstone Academy Trust wanted to start saving valuable time by going cashless and paperless. By moving their processes onto a cloud-based system, they hoped to make it easy for staff and families to manage payments and bookings.

the cornerstone academy trust


The Cornerstone Multi-Academy Trust (TCAT) in Devon is a forward-looking, agile MAT where like-minded schools collaborate and develop in a local, supportive learning environment.

With a national and international reputation for the use of digital technologies in education, the Trust comprises four primary schools where pupils benefit from a broad and balanced curriculum, and where innovation is at the heart of teaching and learning. Its distinctive, extended curriculum opportunities provide a challenging learning environment that inspires children to achieve high standards and become life-long independent learners.

We have asked them a few questions about WisePay and how it helps their everyday processes. Read on to learn how WisePay can benefit your Multi Academy Trust.

How long have you been a Community Brands customer?

We have been a customer for over 15 years, probably before Community Brands even existed! We’ve used Groupcall communications for the longest time, and about 10 years ago we became a customer of WisePay.

When looking for a payments provider, what challenges were you trying to solve?

We were trying to go cashless and paperless – that was quite a big upheaval 10 years ago. We were after cloud-based software to ensure good communications and payments systems for our parents – when our parents are happy, we’re happy. Some schools still run how we used to which I just can’t believe!

We were looking for companies who were going to understand the areas where we were pushing at the forefront and the innovation. We were asking everyone, “How can technology help us achieve the vision that we have?”. We are making technology the tool to give us the power to do anything we want, and Community Brands supported us with that. For example, our dining system, we’ve revamped through WisePay. So, it’s vastly different to what it used to be. Everything is cloud-based, and it just relieves so much stress for us. Recently, when one of our admin team’s children had Covid, the cloud-based system meant that she could access everything from home seamlessly.

What would you say is your approach to managing your payments and booking provision?

We’ve gone down an approach that is unique of ‘best in breed’ rather than a one-stop-shop. If I looked at WisePay at the moment, we haven’t moved from the system because the flexibility that it offers us is nearly impossible to find in other providers. The payment modules in our MIS provider don’t allow us to offer the breakfast options in the same way – so we don’t want to switch. Lots of times, people will say, “What is the best value?”. The best value isn’t always the cheapest, but it has to be the best thing for you and your organisation. If Community Brands started to produce products that have a high price and low functionality, we would go elsewhere. But as it stands Community Brands UK provides high functionality for a reasonable price.

What is the most common feedback that you receive from parents?

We find that our parents engage most when it’s quick and easy; that appears to hit the mark for them. Although, if I write a long-detailed letter attached to an email, I will get complaints. If I did a short letter, I would get complaints because it does not have the information. So, I choose to do long detailed letters as it is important, they get the information they need. Complaints will happen whatever communication style you use.

What things would you say are most important where parental engagement is concerned?

Support provision: parents get frustrated, for example, because their login doesn’t work. Very quickly they get disenchanted. We always make sure we have good support for parents from our side and Community Brands UK’s side. Parents are looking for a really simple payments and booking system, one they can use on the app on the way to work or while they’re having breakfast. Contemporary living renders web portals of little use unless they have an available mobile App option.

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