5.1 The Trust Board – Within a Multi-Academy Trust, the responsibility for governance lies with the Trust Board. Directors are appointed by the Members (ie the ‘owners’ of the Trust).
The Trust Board has to lead the Trust strategically, as one organisation, ensuring its financial probity and sustainability, the overall quality of its educational provision, and its compliance within the law. It is important that this Trust Board is separate from local governance of schools (except in specific situations where, for example, the Trust Board needs to step in to take responsibility for an individual school that is experiencing difficulties, or the particular skillset of a local governor will inform the Trust Board). The Trustees delegate particular roles and responsibilities through a Scheme of Delegation.
5.2 The Chief Executive (CEO) – The Trust Board appoints the CEO actually to run the Trust, supported by an executive team, including finance, operations, HR, ICT and data analysis.
Schools within the Trust have their own Headteacher, or Head of School, who is accountable to the CEO for the quality of the school and its provision for children.
5.3 Local Committees (i.e., local governance) – Schools also have a local committee of governors, whose role is to provide support and challenge for school leadership, ensure that the essential independent panel responsibilities are fulfilled, and to provide that essential link between the school and the wider community that it serves. Full details are set out in the Scheme of Delegation, but essentially local committees have responsibility in the areas set out below. Where necessary (eg for panel work), one of the benefits of being in a Trust is that local governors can provide the informed independence for another Trust School.
5.3.1 Oversee and quality assure educational standards – They receive a fuller data dashboard than the Trust Board, so they can see not only where the school is making progress overall, but how that affects groups within the school – boys and girls; disadvantaged pupils; children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND); the progress and achievement of pupils from their individual starting points; the progress and achievement of pupils for whom English is an additional language. This enables governors to ask strategic questions, without being buried in detail.
5.3.2 Oversees and quality assures the schools’ safeguarding responsibilities by:
Reviewing the school’s Local Safeguarding and Child Protection Board Audit;
Reviewing the termly Safeguarding Report produced by the Designated Safeguarding Lead;
The designated governor (normally the Chair) meets with the Designated Safeguarding Lead biannually to review anonymised case studies of safeguarding referrals and to quality-assure safeguarding processes;
The designated governor (normally the Chair) works with the Headteacher to ensure that recruitment procedures are in line with those outlined in ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education in 2018’ and to review the Single Central Register at least termly.
5.3.3 Named governors take responsibility for overseeing provision for SEND pupils, disadvantaged pupils, pupils in the care of the Local Authority. Trust officers will support the named governor.
5.3.4 Ensure the robust and consistent application of the Trust’s Appraisal and Pay Policy for teachers. 2 nominated governors scrutinize a cross-section of anonymised appraisal reviews.
5.3.5 Quality assure attendance and exclusion, again to be able to question school leadership about trends and policy.
5.3.6 Receive the budget, a monitoring report, and the budget outturn. This enables the local committee to understand how the school uses its resources and, if necessary, challenge. The operation of the budget is the responsibility of school and Trust staff.
5.3.7 Support and challenge the school’s leadership by acting on panels, as necessary
in case of a permanent exclusion of a pupil,
in an appeal by a member of staff against a disciplinary sanction or a dismissal on the grounds of capability or attendance,
if the school has to undertake a significant change (ie., redundancy).
In these areas, governors are fully advised by the CET’s HR lead and, where necessary by our legal services.
5.3.8 Represent the school in its community to support a positive reputation for the school, which benefits the young people. In particular, the Trust Board encourages local committees to reach out to employers and support the careers work of the school, so that children and young people have a sense of wider world in which they can, and will, play a part. In the broadest sense, it is our job to ensure all our children are employable and eager to enter the world of work, and achieve the purpose, satisfaction and dignity that that brings.
5.3.9 Quality assure statutory checks/Health and Safety. A named governor checks the statutory checks with the Business Manager/Site Manager, and reports to the committee. S/he would also normally walk the site every term to discuss maintenance and repairs, which are then fed into the Trust Executive.
5.3.10 Admissions – Where a school is oversubscribed and criteria other than distance/sibling link have to be applied, a small committee of local governors is responsible for administering this process. Admission appeals are managed by school leadership.
5.3.11 Complaints – The CET has a single Complaints Policy. If a complaint cannot be resolved at Headteacher, or Chair of Local Committee level, then Academies law requires establishment of a panel with an Independent Chair, plus 2 other governors who have not been involved in the matter.
5.4 Composition and appointment of Local Committees (Local Governors)
5.4.1 Local Committees can be any size, but should not be smaller than 7 and ideally not larger than 11. (See below). Each local committee must have 2 elected parent governors, and 1 elected staff governor. The remaining members of the committee are appointed by the Trust Board.
5.4.2 On joining the Trust, where the school is a faith school, appointment of Foundation governors is in conjunction with the Diocesan Board of Education and the school’s Foundation.
5.4.3 Where the school was a community school, (or single Academy Trust), the CEO normally works with the Chair of the Legacy Governing Body to make the appointments on behalf of the Trust Board.
The Headteacher is a member of the local committee by virtue of their post (ie., ex-officio) and is appointed by the Trust Board.
The Trust/Foundation appointed members of the local committee are always in the majority.
Where the school has a Foundation which makes appointments, the Trust Board will always appoint at least one further governor, in addition to the Headteacher.
5.5 Terms of Office – All local committee governors are appointed for 4 years. Appointments may be reviewed after that.
5.6 Protocols for governors visiting their school – To be able to fulfil their role, governors should visit their school and see it in action. However, this has to be managed sensitively and in the right way, through the Headteacher. Governors are there to learn, not to inspect. Feedback must be shared with the Headteacher first.
The Trust has a protocol for governors visiting their school.
If there are concerns that a governor is not able to access the school, this should be referred to the CEO.
5.7 Code of Conduct for Governors/Skills Audit
The Trust uses the National Governors’ Association’s (NGA) Code of Conduct. All governors are expected to abide by this, and the Nolan principles of good conduct in public service.
Governors are expected to access training, whether provided by the Trust Executive, or through the online training provided by the NGA, which the Trust buys for all governors.
The Trust does an annual skills audit, where governors are asked to evidence how they have developed their knowledge and skills as governors by accessing the training.