GOVERNANCE STRUCTURE

Introduction

Formalised cross school governance arrangements can help with efficiencies, with ultimate corporate accountability held by the Trust Board and corporate and strategic functions being carried out centrally, leaving local governing boards free to focus on pupil progress and attainment for their individual schools.

The roles of members, trustees and governors are set out in the Education Funding Agencies (EFA) Academies Financial Handbook. The Trust is required to comply with this Handbook as part of its funding agreement with the Secretary of State and therefore these EFA requirements have been incorporated into the Trusts Governance documents being the Articles of Association and the Scheme of Delegation.

The Members determine the governance structure of the Trust and provide strategic oversight and challenge to the Trustees to ensure the charitable objects of the Trust are fulfilled. The functions of the members are set out in the Articles of Association and the Trusts Scheme of Delegation (para 3.3.3) to include:

  • Ensuring the objects of the Trust are met, in particular any religious character
  • Taking part at the AGM and receiving an annual report at an AGM, which details how the objects of the Trust are met.
  • Appointment and Removal Foundation Governors in any Church Academy.
  • Determine and Secure the Academy’s religious character in any Church Academy.
  • Members are guardians of the Trust’s constitution, approve the Articles of Association and ultimately has the power to remove trustees.
  • Power to amend the Articles of Association (subject to approval by the Secretary of State)

Commitments made by members to each other and their requirements of the Directors are set out in a ‘Members’ Memorandum of Understanding’ appended to the Scheme of Delegation

The Trust Board is responsible for the governance of the Cranmer Education Trust. It operates at a strategic level, delegating the responsibility for local quality and performance to committees (Local Governing Bodies).

All members of the Trust Board are appointed and/or elected in accordance with the Articles of Association. Trustees (Directors) are recruited by invitation dependent upon their expertise, experience and skills under the following conditions as set out in the Articles of Association:

  • Foundation Directors appointed in equal numbers by the Diocesan Board of Education and the Henshaw Trust – the remainder appointed by the Area Dean
  • Executive Directors including the Chief Executive Officer – number not to exceed one third of total Directors
  • Directors appointed by the Directors – restricted to ensure that at all times a majority of Directors are Foundation Directors
  • Academy Directors – minimum of two each must be the Chair of a Local Governing Body and include a representation from both primary and secondary academies in the Trust
  • Parent Directors if appointed under Articles 53-56D

The Board must comprise of at least three Trustees each with a term of office of 4 years (with the exception of any post held ex officio including the Academy Directors).

The functions of the trustees are set out in the Articles of Association and the Trusts Scheme of Delegation (para 3.4.4) to include:

  • To determine and fulfil the shared vision and ethos of the Trust and the Academies
  • To develop a strategic plan for the Trust, implementing and communicating this across the Trust and the Academies
  • To appoint in consultation with the relevant Foundation Members, The Chief Executive Officer and to act as a critical friend to the Chief Executive Officer and each of the Local Governing Bodies.
  • To formulate and ensure the implementation of policies and procedures which it is intended to achieve a consistently high standard of education and financial prudence across the Trust
  • To work with the Joint Standards Committee to provide leadership and mentoring support to the Local Governing Bodies and Academy leadership teams and to supervise effectiveness of Academies and Local Governing Bodies
  • To work with the Joint Standards Committee and Foundation members to facilitate the appointment and removal of Governors
  • To formally appoint Academy principals and with CEO and relevant Foundation members, to review their performance
  • To determine the budget for any central expenditure and support and monitor individual Academy budgets, and to monitor and evaluate the delivery of the central services and functions delivered by the Executive Team.
  • To ensure there is a proper system for the internal audit of the accounts and financial procedures of the Trust, establishing a formal audit committee.
  • Act as the ultimate decision maker in relation to appeals by staff following disciplinary or grievance procedures
  • To ensure proper advice is available to the Trust and the Academies in relation to legal and compliance matters, and ensuring insurance is in place and maintained for all risk areas.
  • To develop and manage partnerships with other bodies and organisations, including contractual relationships with the Secretary of State under the Funding agreement.
  • To exercise reasonable skill and care in carrying out their duties.
  • To act in the best interest of the charitable company and avoid conflicts of interest

The Trust Board has appointed an Audit Committee to provide independent oversight and scrutiny of the Trust financial systems, operational controls and risk management.

Terms of reference of the audit committee

The Trust Board has established Local Governing Bodies for each of the Academies for the most part made up of individuals drawn from the Academy’s community. Governors serving on Local Governing Bodies are accountable to the Trust Board as well as to the communities they serve. Whilst not trustees under charity law, the Governors are under a duty to act in good faith and in the interests of the Academy and the Trust.

Details of the authorities delegated by the Trust Board to the local Governing Bodies are set out in the Scheme of Delegation (Section 4). In summary, it is the role of the governors to:

  • Hold the head teacher and senior leadership of the Academy to account for the educational performance of the school and its pupils, and the appropriateness of the staffing structure and performance management of staff
  • Oversee the financial performance of the Academy and ensure its money is well spent
  • Ensuring clarity of the Academy’s vision, ethos and strategic direction.
  • Promoting the benefits of collaboration with the other Academies and the Academy’s community and actively seek opportunities to work together to improve the effectiveness of the Academies and to serve the needs of the communities.

A Joint Standards Committee has been established by the Trust Board to support and promote collaboration between Local Governing Bodies with a view particularly to the standards being attained in the Academies.

The Executive Team is the executive arm of the Trust Board focussing on operations and resources and supporting the educational performance of the Academies. It operates under the leadership and direction of the Chief Executive Officer.

Under delegated responsibility from the Trust Board, the Executive Team works directly with the staff in each Academy and the local governing bodies to ensure that the required outcomes are achieved in accordance with the direction and vision of the Trust Board.

The Executive Team comprises many officers of the Trust including the Director of Operations, Director of Finance, Principal HR Officer, School Improvement Professional, Primary Specialist, Finance and IT managers.

The principle responsibilities of the Executive Team are:

  • to manage the conversion of schools to Academies
  • to direct and support the operation of each Academy
  • to provide operational and management support to the Headteachers and senior leadership teams within the Academies
  • to benchmark Academies across the group developing collaboration, resource sharing and cross fertilisation
  • to ensure insurance is maintained for all risk areas across the Trust
  • to undertake strategic management of the whole Trust estate
  • to take a lead on any capital bids and allocations
  • to supervise and facilitate the production and audit of the Trusts company accounts

Each individual Academy is led by a Headteacher supported by a local Academy Senior Leadership Team, responsible for the day-to- day running of the Academy.