Governance within the Trust
In line with the Trust’s Scheme of Delegation, the Trust Board delegates a number of duties to our Local Governing Boards (LGBs). The role of these LGBs is somewhat different to that of a traditional governing body, given the setup of the Trust and the central roles that exist. This document outlines some of the key expectations and areas for focus for these LGBs and how their role fits alongside the central functions of the Trust. The Chair of each LGB will support the development of individual LGB members and the clerk and in turn, will work with the clerk to carry out a 360 degree review of their own performance, which they will review with other Chairs within the Hub. Each LGB will carry out an annual assessment of its performance in line with the Twenty Questions found here.
The Scheme of Delegation continues to be the most important document to guide the overall governance of the Trust and in particular the work of each LGB. It is essential that all governors and clerks are familiar with the Scheme and refer to it regularly to ensure that their work is focused on the right areas.
- The Trust expects all LGBs to meet formally as a Full LGB, at least four times per year. The key focus of the work of the LGB is on academy improvement, standards, teaching and learning. LGBs shall submit their minutes and the Headteacher Report to the CEO within two weeks of a meeting. Minutes will reflect the degree of challenge and questioning that has taken place at the meeting and will ensure that the needs of disadvantaged children are always discussed.
- All LGBs will operate a Standards Committee that focuses specifically on the curriculum and pupil outcomes, evidenced by results, pupil work and conferencing, in line with the Academy Improvement Plan (see separate terms of reference). These Standards Committees will generally meet three times per year and may be linked to monitoring activity within the school.
- As a Diocesan Trust, we place great value on our Christian ethos and church school distinctiveness. As a result, each school will operate an Ethos and Spirituality Committee. This will consist of governors (including foundation and non-foundation), school leaders, the RE/Collective Worship leader, local clergy. Parents and pupils will be involved as appropriate. This Committee will meet at least three times per year and use the SIAMS inspection framework as a guide for its work. In some cases it may be appropriate to combine with the Standards Committee.
Our academies will not have a Finance / Resources Committee. Summary financial reports will be provided to the meetings of the full LGB. Other financial oversight is provided by the Trust’s finance team.
- Monitoring and evaluation is at the core of the work that we engage in as a Trust. Our academy improvement offer is vital in securing on-going improvement in all our academies.
- Our Academy Improvement Director and Hub Improvement Leads, work closely together with senior and middle leaders to identify successes and to provide challenge where there is scope for further improvement.
- Our expectation is that our LGBs will provide challenge to leaders in our schools, following on from this monitoring and evaluation work, making use of the reports provided and other data submitted as part of the Headteacher’s Report.
- Our expectation is that practical governor monitoring and evaluation work should be carried out as part of the regular monitoring cycle of the school and always in partnership with the leaders in the school, or the Trust’s Academy Improvement Team. It should be sufficient to give governors experience of what is taking place in terms of children’s learning and such that they can provide appropriate challenge in meetings, however, we do not expect it to be in addition to other monitoring that is taking place and neither do we expect it to be without the guidance and direction of an education professional.
- The Chair, Standards Committee Chair and other LGB members will always be invited to our regular Academy Improvement Meetings and to be part of the monitoring work carried out as part of this process.
- We recognise the time demands on our LGB members, particularly during the school day. Whilst we would hope that all our LGB members would be able to spend at least the equivalent of a day per year in the school whilst it is functioning, we look for skills in our members that enable them to challenge senior leaders through the LGB and the information submitted. Whilst LGB members are a vital part of the leadership and management of the school, they hold a non-executive function and so the usual protocols associated with such a role are expected.
- Where concerns exist about the progress and performance of a school, the LGB Chair will discuss this at the earliest opportunity with the school leadership and also with the Chief Executive and Chair of the Trust Board.
Where we are developing Hub Governing Boards (HGBs), these will meet three times per year and focus their work on collaboration for academy improvement and creating greater efficiencies, enabling additional investment in teaching and learning. Their responsibilities are fully outlined in the Scheme of Delegation.
We are transitioning to new governance arrangements in our Forum Hub during 2020. For this period, they will operate under their own Scheme of Delegation. This is largely similar to our general Scheme of Delegation but has slightly different duties for the newly formed Academy Standards Committees and Regional Leadership Groups.