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. Cranmer Education Trust operates many levels of governance being members, trustees and local governors, executive team and individual Academy leadership as shown on the Governance Structure Diagram.

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

Audit Committee

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

Govenors (Local Governing Bodies)

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.

Joint Standards Committee

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 Terms of reference of the Joint Standards Committee.

The Executive Team

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 Business and Resources, Principal Finance Officer, 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 Head teachers 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
Julie Hollis – CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER/ ACCOUNTING OFFICE of Cranmer Education Trust - HEADTEACHER of The Blue Coat School (MA, NPHQ, NLE)
juliehollisChief Executive Officer and Accounting Officer of Cranmer Education Trust since 1 August 2011 and Headteacher of The Blue Coat School (2002 – present). Julie was a SIP, an LLE, and is now an NLE.

Ofsted Inspections of The Blue Coat School while under Julie’s leadership:
2004: 2
2008: 1
2011-12: 1 in all judgements.

Also under Julie’s leadership The Blue Coat School became a Specialist College for Science and Maths; a Beacon School; a Training School and a National Teaching School and lead school of The Northern Alliance (

The Blue Coat School became an Academy in 2011, and established a Multi-Academy Trust in 2015 – Cranmer Education Trust. The Trust is also in the final stages of establishing a SCITT (Manchester Nexus) for school centred initial teacher training.

Julie has chaired Secondary Heads throughout BSF. She was a member of the Oldham Commission (reported February, 2016), and is a founder member of the new Partnership Board.

Margaret Duncan – Director of Business
margaretMargaret has over 30 years’ experience in the Higher Education sector at MMU, University College Salford & University of Salford at Deputy Director level (information services), where she led a team of 7 senior managers responsible for a workforce of 240 staff and managed the finance, HR, estates, and central administration of the Division with its annual operating budget of over £10 million.

As part of The Blue Coat School/The Cranmer Education Trust Margaret’s experience to date includes:
Support staff restructuring
Academy and Multi Academy Trust establishment – Project management
BSF ICT Steering Group
Oldham Job Evaluation School Steering Group
Funding negotiations and successful bids/project management of estates improvements (see below)
Institution lead in estates Design Team Meetings
Finance, H&S; insurance Audit lead
EU contract lead & implementation management
Ofsted safeguarding
Senior Manager for 60+ support staff

Since Blue Coat became an Academy, Margaret’s brief has increasingly focused on estates strategy and project management, including extensive experience liaising with the EFA, and with Oldham Council which funded our expansion in 2014-15, and with a wide team of professionals, contractors and regulators to secure and manage major capital projects and bring them all in on time and in budget, to the huge benefit of the school and students.

Projects have included the design and construction of a new classroom block (14 classrooms), the complete refurbishment of a further block and creation of new specialist facilities for Science and Technology, Music and Drama, a £1 million programme of replacement and repair to the masonry and windows of our listed building.

Beverley Harper – Principal Finance Officer
beverleyharperBev was appointed to lead our financial management after conversion. Her expertise has ensured an exemplary audit record for the Trust, and a healthy reserve. She is now taking on responsibility for networking with business, specifically with the growth of the Trust in mind. Bev is an Hons degree graduate from London University in Biological Sciences (2:!), a Qualified Chartered Accountant and a Qualified Chartered Tax Advisor
Bev has over 30 years’ experience of working in the accountancy profession at two of the largest accountancy firms in the UK – Ernst and Young and Price Waterhouse Coopers. Her work here included:
Working as an auditor on a large variety of clients from entrepreneurs to consolidated multinational companies.
Leading an entrepreneurial team of tax experts advising companies on all corporation tax matters and dealing with HMRC on client’s behalf
Dealt with all aspects of setting budgets and billing clients, including monitoring recording and analysing budgets –v- actuals.
Extremely experienced in communications – writing reports and letters, meetings.
Very experienced manager of staff in appraisal, training and development, and leading and organising teams of staff.
As part of The Blue Coat School/The Cranmer Education Trust Bev’s experience to date includes:
Leading a team of 6 finance staff at The Blue Coat School/ Trust Head Office.
Business manager for the Teaching School Alliance – setting and monitoring budgets, analysing of grant funding and its audit by fund providers and auditors.
Involved in the financial aspects of applications for grant funding and the business case for The Blue Coat School application to become a SCITT.
Preparing statutory accounts for the Trust including this year consolidated accounts for the Trust and its two primaries.
Working with internal and external auditors –3 years of clean audit reports.
Role as School Forum representative for Academies in relation to local decisions on School Block funding.
Keeping Senior Leadership abreast of funding climate changes and reporting regularly to Trustees, Governors and staff on the financial position of the Trust.
Cathy Kearns – Principal HR Officer
cathykearnsCathy was appointed to the Trust in 2015, and has led on all HR issues, including the TUPE of staff from primary partners, the establishment of the TURA, the creation of HR policy in consultation with the unions, robust systems for staff appointment in the primaries, and casework across the Trust. Cathy is an Hons degree graduate from UMIST in management (2:1) and PG Dip HRM (Merit) / Associate CIPD
Cathy’s experience includes
11 years’ inf HR gained in manufacturing, housing and education.
Employee relations including absence management, disciplinarians, grievances, capabilities, including responding to employment tribunal applications.
TUPE experience – led on two successful transfers, plus assisted with others.
Significant knowledge of teaching and support staff terms and conditions of employment.
Experience in staffing restructures, salary review processes, employee consultation, staff induction processes, staff training and development
Experience of working with the unions – individual employee cases, policy consultation, formal recognition agreement, TUPE consultation.
Ran a complex weekly payroll for 100 staff and implemented and rolled out a HR self-service system.
Recruitment – writing job descriptions, shortlisting, interviewing, designing selection assessments and interview questions, all recruitment administration.
Writing HR reports and policies for exec team and Board
Craig Hawes – ICT Manager
craighawesCraig has been an education sector ICT manager for 14 years and led the development of our ICT infrastructure at The Blue Coat School. Within the Trust he has established a bridge to ensure that all systems and management information, which is part of delegation and accountability, is shared and that processes can be run on all of the sites. He is systematically updating the ICT infrastructure of our primary partners. Craig is ITIL trained in effective IT service management, MCSA; MCITP Microsoft Certificated and a BETT participant.
Craig’s previous roles have been a Lance Corporal in the army for 6 years, CEO of an independent haulage business and IBM ICT Helpdesk Management.
Craig’s experience includes:
ICT Strategic Planning, systems infrastructure design and systems integration.
BSF ICT working group membership.
ICT Business Continuity / Disaster Recovery Planning and testing.
Oldham Network Manager Chair.
Recruitment – workforce planning; job design; interviewing; training and disciplinary.
External ICT consultancy – Construction Sector.
Presentations / training to Directors and senior leadership teams
Management of significant IT projects within school – including System upgrades –Trust email migration to Microsoft Office 365 and software upgrades for Facility MIS; EPortal; Resource (Finance System); Parentmail; WisePay .and integration of Facilities Management Services – eg cashless catering; biometric recognition; door access; M&E ‘E’ Management system
Implementation and management of remote access for users for all Trust services.
Integration of multiple primary schools into Trust incorporating fibre connectivity (Virgin Media); upgrade to security/access protocols, system resilience, and MAT inter-institutional communication framework.
Michael Walker
michaelwalkerMichael has worked as Data Analyst in both the private and public sectors. He started his career with Yorkmetrics, which provides data analysis for a range of major companies including BAE and Jaguar. He then moved to Local Government and specialised in the education sector. Since his appointment to The Blue Coat School in 2009 he has
developed and refined data analysis to support and promote educational improvement across the full curriculum and staff appraisal and development,
created systems for data retrieval and management that other staff can apply and use,
supported schools in Oldham and Bolton in the development of their data analysis.
supported Bolton Local Authority in responding to changes in accountability measures and the implications for data analysis and understanding of school outcomes,
supported the Oldham Education & Skills Commission in interpreting secondary data.
Michael now leads data analysis across the Multi-Academy Trust, including primary partners. His experience therefore covers Reception – 18, in a range of very different contexts, at both micro and macro levels.

Individual Academy Leadership

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

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