,
Message sent from:

Governance Charter

Section 1 - Context, Principles & Outline

Foreword from the Chair of Trustees

Consortium Multi Academy Trust was established in 2016 as a result of the ever changing educational landscape in structure, policy and educational delivery.  Through these opportunities and our vision, aims and principles, Consortium provides it’s Academy Schools with the framework to develop within a supportive structure and framework.

The Trustees of Consortium Multi Academy Trust are in no doubt that the education sector faces more challenges in future years; at the very least, a far superior expectation of academic outcomes for our pupils with limited resources.  The need for creativity, collaboration and School to School Support has never been greater, and Head Teachers and Governors are seeking out strong structures to ensure that that their schools remain viable, feasible and relevant to their local communities.  They are looking for local Academy solutions that allow them to retain their school identity; their parent voice; their community engagement – all the things that make their school special. 

Consortium Multi-Academy Trust provides that environment, whilst offering a broad curriculum, collaborative working and the opportunity for every child and adult involved in their schools to meet their full potential.

I strongly believe that Consortium Multi-Academy Trust, its Members, Trustees, Executive Team and Academy Schools provide a unique offering within Norfolk and Suffolk.  Through this, children will flourish and achieve and the small schools in the Consortium family will flourish and thrive and continue for our future generations.

Dawn Carman-Jones
Chair of Trustees
July 2017

 

Foreword from the CEO

The Consortium Multi Academy Trust is borne out of the desire to maintain and enhance the position of rural community primary schools at the heart of our communities across Norfolk and Suffolk. 

Our three core principles of the Trust are reflected throughout this Scheme of Delegation and underpin our practice within the Trust and across our Academy Schools:-

  • Partnership and collaboration;
  • Mutual respect through effective challenge;
  • Delegated responsibility for member schools;

The outcomes of these principles deliver closer integration and collaborative working across the Trust, ensuring that our school’s curriculum are broad and exciting, provision is full and effective and the outcomes for pupils are exceptional.

The following pages outline how this is achieved in practice.  We truly believe that we have created an environment where

Together, Excellence and Pupils Thrive.

Andrew Aalders-Dunthorne
CEO/Principal, Consortium Multi Academy Trust
July 2017

 

Trust Overview

Consortium Multi-Academy Trust (MAT), was established in 2016 to support and protect the future of rural community schools across Norfolk and Suffolk. 

Our aim is to retain and secure the financial viability of our schools within our local communities through a planned and careful expansion programme.  Where these schools are very small, we looking at these as an opportunity to develop academy ‘hubs’ on the small federation model, bringing together 100-150 pupils across two to three schools. 

Subject leadership is developed across hubs of schools and subject leaders come together to share ideas and expertise.  Geographical hubs will be developed in the Family of Schools model.  Strategic direction, administration and school improvement sits in partnership with the individual school, the MAT Teaching, Learning and Assessment Panel, as well as the MAT Executive Leadership Team and Board Trustees. 

Our founding principle is of Delegated Responsibility and this involves individual schools retaining the highest level of autonomy, whilst ensuring robust monitoring and the availability of strong support from the Trust, with the view that ‘we can all always do things better’.

Consortium’s Teaching, Learning and Assessment (TLA) Panel is a key influencer within our schools, enabling strategic leaders and Academy Heads to meet half termly to assess and review school improvement.  This support starts with data analysis, curriculum planning and development, moderation and monitoring, CPD opportunities, and the collation of our collaborative working practices. 

The Academy process has enabled Consortium to develop a structure which works for all and allows both the Trust and the individual schools to be sustainable.  The Scheme of Delegation provides clear accountability and the ability to work closely through the TLA Panel, so that issues are highlighted at an early stage and dealt with in a supportive manner.  This said, Consortium has the expertise and capacity to interject with robust intervention if required.

 

This Governance Charter will:

  • Ensure that the Executive Leadership Team (ELT) is clear about which decisions the Trust Board remain in control of;
  • Ensure that the role of the Executive Leadership Team (ELT) is fully understood throughout The Consortium Multi-Academy Trust and the Academy Schools;
  • Ensure that all tiers of Governance have a clear understanding of their roles, responsibilities and decision making delegations;
  • Promote a culture of honesty and accountability;
  • Identify levels of responsibility and accountability;
     

Principles of Governance

  • This Governance Charter sets out the fundamental principles of the organisation and details the rules of governance.  These are determined within:
  • The Articles of Association
  • The Scheme of Delegation
  • Terms of Reference
  • Associated guidance documents, policies and job descriptions
  • The principles are based on the concept of ‘Delegated Responsibility’, which ensures that the greatest level of responsibility and decision making is passed to the individual Academy School as is appropriate for their individual circumstance.
  • The Consortium Multi-Academy Trust commits to reviewing and developing the Governance structures, to take into account the dynamic environment of education and best practice.
  • Financial Governance must be compliant with the regulations laid out in the Academies Financial Handbook.
  • Effective Governance is supported by the structure of:
  • Trust Members
  • Trust Board
  • Trust Sub-Committees
  • Local Governing Bodies
  • The Executive Team
  • The Teaching, Learning and Assessment Panel

The Trust Board retains overall responsibility and ultimate decision making authority for all the work of the Academy Trust, regardless of delegation outlined within this document; in line with the direct responsibility to the Department for Education and the Secretary of State for Education.

 

Working Principles:

Community Schools for the Community

  • All Academy Schools will continue to engage and promote links with their local and regional community;
  • Academy Schools will retain the school and federation identity where applicable;
  • The Consortium Multi-Academy Trust will strive for excellent provision, learning and teaching;
  • All Academy Schools will be inclusive and responsive to their community needs through enshrining equality;

Teaching, Learning and Assessment

  • The CEO will chair the Teaching, Learning and Assessment Panel;
  • All Academy Schools will be represented on the Teaching, Learning and Assessment Panel;
  • The Teaching, Learning and Assessment Panel will lead curriculum developments and monitor impact of initiatives;
  • The Consortium Multi-Academy Trust will lead on the creation of a central support team (with development over time to meet needs);
  • Academy Schools within the Trust will shape the curriculum offer to local needs;
  • Models of best practice will be freely shared throughout the Trust and beyond;
  • Academy Schools will share models of reporting, recording and evaluating of attainment, progress and wellbeing amongst other aspects and elements for both pupils and staff;
  • The CEO may support the writing of Academy Improvement & Development Plan with Academy Heads, to ensure that Consortium Multi-Academy Trust and school priorities are reflected and that resources are effectively and efficiently allocated and managed.

Governance

  • Local Governing Bodies (LGBs) will be retained, with their responsibilities clearly outlined in the Scheme of Delegation and Terms of Reference;
  • LGBs will be focused on teaching and learning, outcomes for pupils, resource allocation and safeguarding;
  • Functions not related to teaching and learning or pupil outcomes will be centralised within The Consortium Multi Academy Trust where necessary, to ensure best value and economies of scale;
  • LGBs may provide nominations to fill vacancies on the Board of Trustees (The Board retains the power of appointment)

Finance and Administration

  • The Consortium Multi-Academy Trust’s core functions are adequately resourced.
  • Budgets are delegated in line with the Scheme of Delegation to the appropriate level.  The Record of Financial Responsibility and Finance Policies detail the allocation process.
  • The Consortium Multi-Academy Trust has appointed a Finance & HR Manager, an Operations Manager, Senior Audit Officer and Senior Finance Officer to fulfil central Trust roles of support and development.
  • The Consortium Multi-Academy Trust Central Team and Offices will provide core services to Academy schools to streamline financial practices, and as Traded Services to schools not part of the Trust.
  • The Consortium Multi-Academy Trust and Academy Schools will always seek to secure best value in services, supplies and procurement.
  • The Consortium Multi-Academy Trust commits to seek an increase in the amount of ‘real’ money invested in Teaching and Learning at each site.
  • Consortium Multi-Academy Trust ringfences carry forward balances to the academy school and seeks to avoid any detrimental impact on budgets within individual schools as a result of conversion.

Staff, Pay, Conditions and CPD

  • The Consortium Multi-Academy Trust will review and maintain policies as a central function with delegated ability for local amendment with the approval of the Board of Trustees.
  • The Consortium Multi-Academy Trust is a member of the CPD Accreditation Service and will deliver CPD for all staff directly and in association with the local Teaching School Alliances and other providers, seeking funding where applicable and ensuring that all CPD is cascaded appropriately.
  • The Consortium Multi-Academy Trust commits to protect staff pay and conditions in line with local government and national pay scales.
  • All Academy School staff will TUPE to The Consortium Multi-Academy Trust with their current terms and conditions with any relevant measures discussed with Unions and staff during the TUPE process.
  • The Consortium Multi-Academy Trust has created a Well-Being Champions programme to enable representatives of Academy Schools to meet termly with the CEO.
  • The Consortium Multi Academy Trust offers Staff a number of real value staff enhancements and benefits which are constantly reviewed and developed to support our employees across the Trust.

Powers of Intervention

This document outlines the determination of the delegation of governance functions.

  • The CEO has ultimate responsibility to the DfE for Standards across the MAT.
  • In order to achieve this the CEO has power of intervention regarding:
  • Safeguarding concerns;
  • Local leadership, management, governance capacity and capability;
  • Financial and administrative performance;
  • Attainment and progress concerns;
  • Curriculum suitability and provision concerns;
  • An adverse OFSTED inspection or expectation of such an outcome;

The Consortium Multi-Academy Trust Vision and Values

The Consortium Multi-Academy Trust was established to support and protect small community schools within a strong, feasible and long term viable multi academy trust solution.  Our moto is where together excellence and pupils thrive, embracing our ethos, vision and values.

The key to achieving this is collaboration, partnership and mutual respect within the MAT, within the Academy Schools, and within our communities.  Consortium Multi Academy Trust is unique in that we delegate responsibility to schools and local governing bodies, enabling them to retain their independence and identity whilst being supported in achieving or maintaining excellent standards of education, the broadest possible educational opportunities for our staff and pupils and a strong presence within and for our local communities.

We will work with the wider educational community and will ensure that our pupils are as prepared as they can be to continue their education into Secondary School and beyond.  This is achieved through instilling a love of learning, modelled by our staff, who will seek and benefit from excellent Continued Professional Development opportunities for themselves and colleagues.

Local Governing Bodies are the champions of our values in our Academy Schools.  We will work with Local Governors who will represent the parent, staff and community voices of our schools.  This grass root input is essential to achieve our vision of creating Academy Schools and a Multi-Academy Trust where together excellence and pupils thrive.

Accountability for Decisions

The Consortium Multi-Academy Trust Board delegates authority to four key tiers in order to ensure and achieve effective leadership and governance of the Academy Trust:

  • The Executive Leadership Team;
  • The Teaching Learning and Assessment Panel
  • The Academy Head;
  • The Local Governing Body;

The purpose of this delegation is to:

  • Avoid duplication of governance and reporting responsibilities;
  • Enable governance to be as close as possible to the point of impact;

Delegation is based on the principle of Delegated Responsibility.

The Terms of Reference and Scheme of Delegation provide clarity of where the decision making takes place.  The clarity surrounding this provides an environment suitable for effective leadership and management, as well as effective governance.

Intervention

The Trust Board remains ultimately responsible for The Consortium Multi-Academy Trust and the conduct of all member Academy Schools.  There may be circumstances (exceptions rather than the rule), when the Trust Board may need to intervene and may withdraw the delegated authority of a particular element of Governance.

Intervention may take place relating to:

  • Safeguarding concerns;
  • Local leadership, management, governance capacity and capability;
  • Financial and Administrative performance;
  • Attainment and progress concerns;
  • Curriculum suitability and provision concerns;
  • An adverse OFSTED inspection;

A ‘Team Around the School’ (TAS) is an intervention that supports a school to address specific issues; the team provides expertise, capacity and practical support for a specific period of time.

An LGB Intervention Board may be established in exceptional circumstances; this intervention is specifically relating to the governance function of a school (or schools) for a time limited period whilst establishing a competent and capable LGB.

 

Key Elements of Governance:

Members

Members of the Trust are the signatories to the Memorandum of Association and have agreed the Trust’s Articles of Association (the document which outlines the governance structure and how the Trust will operate).  The Articles of Association describe how Members are recruited and replaced and how many of the Trustees the Members can appoint to the Trust Board. 

The Members appoint Trustees to ensure that the Trust’s Charitable Objectives are carried out and so must be able to remove Trustees if they fail to fulfil this responsibility.  Accordingly, the Trust Board submits an annual report on the performance of the Trust to the Members.  Members are also responsible for approving any amendments to the Trust’s Articles of Association.

Members are permitted to be appointed as Trustees.  In order to retain a degree of separation of powers between Members and the Trust Board, and in line with DfE expectations, not all members are Trustees. Members are not permitted to be employees of The Consortium Multi-Academy Trust.

Trustees

The Trustees are the Charity Trustees (within the terms of Section 177(1) of the Charities Act 2011) and are responsible for the general control and management of the administration of the Trust, in accordance with the provisions set out in the Memorandum and Articles of Association.  The Board of Trustees is the accountable body for the performance of all the Schools within The Consortium Multi-Academy Trust and as such has a responsibility to:

  • Ensure clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction;
  • Hold the CEO to account for the educational performance of the schools and their pupils, and the performance management of staff;
  • Oversee the financial performance of The Consortium Multi-Academy Trust and make sure its money is well spent;

The Consortium Multi-Academy Trust Board will achieve this through:

  • Setting the vision, ethos and strategy for The Consortium Multi-Academy Trust and work with the Academy Schools to reflect this at a local level;
  • Establish the governance structures for The Consortium Multi-Academy Trust at all levels, in keeping with the Articles of Association;
  • Provide clarity, through the Terms of Reference and Scheme of Delegation, of where the governance functions are exercised;
  • Setting the level of accountability and authority of each level of governance through the Scheme of Delegation;
  • Engaging with Academy Schools’ communities, parents, pupils and staff;
  • Contributing to developing collaborative relationships and partnerships beyond The Consortium Multi-Academy Trust;
  • Ensuring that there is a strong and effective Executive Leadership structure and personnel in place across The Consortium Multi-Academy Trust;
  • Overview and scrutiny of Academy Schools’ education performance data;
  • Overview and scrutiny of The Consortium Multi-Academy Trust’s financial capability and management systems to ensure compliance with the Academies Financial Handbook and delivery of best value for money;
  • Ensuring senior leaders within Academy Schools are challenged to improve the education of their pupils;
  • Developing The Consortium Multi-Academy Trust’s Board to ensure that it has the capacity, skills and succession plans to have a positive impact on outcomes for pupils;

The Consortium Multi-Academy Trust Board will set Trust-wide policy and principles.

  • The Consortium Multi Academy Trust Board will carry out regular skills audits of the Trustees.  Where key skills are missing on the Board, expertise will be sourced to support the challenge and scrutiny of specialist area such as human resources or educational performance.
  • The Consortium Multi-Academy Trust is permitted to exercise all the powers of the Academy Trust.  The Consortium Multi-Academy Trustees will delegate to the CEO, the responsibility for all the day to day operations of the Trust.  The Trustees have the right to review and adapt the governance structure of The Consortium Multi-Academy Trust at any time which may include removing delegation as deemed appropriate.

Trust Board Sub-Committees

The Consortium Multi-Academy Trust has constituted two Sub-Committees

  1. Standards and Excellence
  2. Finance and Resources

The Trust Board Sub-Committees, though their Terms of Reference, provide the overview and high level scrutiny of their remit.  The principle of ‘no duplication of governance’ demands clear differentiation in the nature of the scrutiny and challenge provided by the Trust Board Sub-Committee and the Teaching, the Learning and Assessment Panel and the Local Governing Body.

The Finance and Resource Committee will pay particular attention to the Academies Financial Handbook in carrying out its duties.

Executive Leadership Team

The CEO/Principal of Consortium MAT, the Education and Learning Manager, HR & Finance Manager and Facilities Manager constitute the core Executive Leadership Team.  Operating under the direction and leadership of the CEO/Principal, the Executive Leadership Team works directly with the staff in each Academy School, the Teaching, Learning and Assessment Panel and the Local Governing Body, to ensure that the required outcomes are achieved in accordance with the direction and vision of The Consortium Multi-Academy Trust Board.

CEO/Principal

The CEO/Principal of Consortium MAT has delegated responsibility for the operation of the Trust and of all Academy Schools and therefore has a role in the performance management of the Executive Leadership Team and the Academy Heads.  Where there is delegation to the Local Governing Body, this will usually be with the Chair of the LGB.

The CEO/Principal of Consortium MAT is the Accounting Officer, so has overall responsibility for the operation of the Trust’s financial responsibilities and must ensure that the organisation is run with financial effectiveness and stability.

The CEO/Principal of Consortium MAT is accountable to the Trust Board for the performance of the Executive Leadership Team and the Academy Schools in terms of finance and educational standards.

The Academy Head

The Academy Head is responsible for the day to day management of the Academy School.  The Academy Head is managed by the CEO/Principal of Consortium Multi Academy Trust.  Where there is delegation, the Academy Head will report to the LGB on delegated responsibilities.

Teaching, Learning and Assessment Panel

The Teaching, Learning and Assessment Panel (TLA) is a representative body of all Academy Heads, Vice-Principals of the Trust and members of the school improvement and SEND teams; chaired by the CEO/Principal, and meets half termly.  The remit is to monitor standards, curriculum delivery and quality of provision across the MAT.

The TLA will work with the local Teaching School Alliance and other associations to provide quality support, CPD, moderation and training.  The TLA will report to the MAT Standards and Excellence Committee.

Local Governing Body

Through the principle of ‘Delegated Responsibility’ The Consortium Multi-Academy Trust considers the role of the Local Governing Body to be an important one.  Wherever possible, the Trust has sought to ensure that the responsibility of decision making is closest to the point of impact.  The full responsibilities of the LGB are detailed in the Scheme of Delegation and the Terms of Reference, but in broad terms include:

  • To contribute to, and fulfil the vision and ethos of the Academy School and The Consortium Multi-Academy Trust as it relates to the Academy School; with LGBs having particular regard to the aims and ambitions for their pupils;
  • To implement and review the Academy Improvement and Development Plan (AIDP) in conjunction with the Academy Head and CEO/Principal.  The LGB is focused on the Academy School performance and achieving sustained school improvement and having regard to any locally agreed priorities identified by the Academy Head, the Senior Leadership of the school, the LGB, the Executive Leadership Team and The Consortium Multi-Academy Trust Board;
  • To act as a critical friend to the Academy School Leadership Team; being ready to challenge and hold the School Leaders to account for the performance of the Academy School.
  • To oversee the management of the finances of the Academy School, assessing the annual budget prepared by the Academy Head and submitting this for approval by The Consortium Multi-Academy Trust’s Finance and Resource Committee for ratification at The Consortium Multi-Academy Trust Board.  Deadlines for preparation are detailed in financial documentation and Significant Events Diary. The LGB ensures that the Academy School works within its allocated and agreed budget and adopts and implements the appropriate financial management policies and procedures as determined by The Consortium Multi-Academy Trust and the Academies Financial Handbook;
  • Engage with local communities and stakeholders;
  • Report to the Teaching, Learning and Assessment Panel, Finance and Resource Committee, Standards and Excellence Committee and The Consortium Multi-Academy Trust Board as required;

The LGB is considered, in legal terms, to be a committee of The Consortium Multi-Academy Trust and, as such, has clear Terms of Reference and delegations as detailed in the Scheme of Delegation. Delegation can be removed from the LGB by The Consortium Multi-Academy Trust Board if intervention is deemed necessary.

 

Composition of Governance Structures:

Members

  • The Consortium Multi-Academy Trust has 5 (five) Members.  The minimum required by the Articles of Association is 3 (three).  An employee of the Trust cannot be a Member.  The Chair of Trustees is an ex officio Member of the Members Board but need not be the elected Chair of Members.

Appointment and removal of Members

  • The Members may agree by passing a special resolution to appoint additional Members as they think fit.
  • The Members may agree by passing a special resolution to remove any Member.  The Member whose proposed removal is the subject of the resolution is not entitled to vote on that resolution.  Any Member may resign provided that after such a resignation the number of Members is not less than three (3).

Meetings of Members 

  • The Trust must hold an AGM each Academy financial year and no more than 15 months must elapse between AGMs.  So long as the first AGM is held within 18 month of incorporation, it need not hold it in the year of its incorporation or the following year.
  • The quorum of a general meeting is two (2) members.  A Trustee may attend and speak at a general meeting or AGM.  A Chair of a general meeting is elected by ordinary resolution of the Members present.

Trustees

  • The Consortium Multi-Academy Trust has the opportunity for up to 12 Trustees.  The minimum number is three (3).  No more than one-third of the Trustees may be employees of the Academy Trust.
  • The term of office for a Trustee is four (4) years.  This time limit does not apply to Trustees who are appointed ex officio.
  • The Consortium Multi-Academy Trust has 1 CEO/Principal (Ex officio)

Appointment and Removal of Trustees

  • The Members may appoint up to 12 Trustees by ordinary resolution.
  • A person can be appointed as a co-opted Trustee by Trustees who have not themselves been co-opted.
  • A Trustee can resign by giving notice to the Academy Trust, so long as the number of Trustees remains at least three (3).
  • A Trustee can be removed by the person or persons who appointed or elected him or her.
  • A Trustee can be removed by ordinary resolution of the Members.

Proceedings of the Trustees

The Trustees shall appoint, and may remove, a clerk, who shall not be a Trustee, CEO or Principal. Each school year the Trustees shall appoint a Chairman and Vice Chairman, neither of whom can be an employee of the Academy Trust.  The Chairman and Vice Chairman may resign by giving written notice to the Clerk.

The Trust must have at least two (2) parent Trustees unless the Trust has established Local Governing Bodies that provide for at least two (2) Parent Local Governors.  The Consortium Multi-Academy Trust has made such provision.

The Trustees may appoint Local Governing Bodies and any other Committees.  These other committees may include members who are not Trustees, provided that Trustees form a majority of the membership and no vote is taken unless a majority of those present are Trustees.  The membership and terms of reference of the committees shall be determined by the Trustees and reviewed each year.

The Trustees may delegate any of their powers or functions to any committee, Local Governing Body, Trustee, CEO or other holder of Executive Office.  Any such delegation shall be in writing and subject to any conditions the Trustees may impose and may be revoked or altered.

The Trustees shall hold at least three (3) meetings in every Academic year.  Any three (3) Trustees may requisition a meeting of Trustees by giving written notice to the Clerk.  Quorum at a meeting shall be three (3) or, if greater, one-third of the total number of Trustees.

Local Authority Associated persons shall never be able to exercise more than 19.9% of the votes at a meeting of Members.  A Local Authority Associated Person cannot be appointed as a Trustee if that would mean that 20% or more of the total number of Trustees were Local Authority Associated Persons.

The Local Authority Associated person’s stipulation applies to all tiers of Governance including Local Governing Bodies. Individuals holding a Local Authority Associated persons role will be identified as such on pecuniary interest declarations.

Teaching, Learning and Assessment Panel

The Consortium Multi-Academy Trust TLA Panel comprises of:-

  • 1 CEO/Principal (Chair of the Panel)
  • The Academy Head of each school or hub of schools
  • Vice Principals
  • Members of the School Improvement team
  • Members of the SEND team

Local Governing Body

LGBs of our Academy Schools may consist of:-

  • Academy Head (ex officio)
  • 1 x staff member (elected)*
  • 2 x parents (elected)*
  • Up to 10 x co-opted/community governors
  • (Joining Academy Schools will retain their existing governance structure, but it would be the intention to move towards this structure over time)

*Where Academy Schools are grouped within a hub structure then each Academy Head will have an ex officio position and 1 elected staff member across the hub.  Each Academy School within this structure will have 1 elected parent governor position.

Employees of the Academy Trust may sit on the LGB as long as they represent no more than 20% of the LGB membership (including elected staff members).

Local Authority Associated persons shall never be able to exercise more than 19.9% of the votes at a meeting of an LGB.  A Local Authority Associated Person cannot be appointed to the LGB if that would mean that 20% or more of the total number of LGB members were Local Authority Associated Persons.

The process of election for staff and parent governors is detailed in Section Nine with sample documentation. The LGB will elect from its members, a Chair and Vice-chair. 

Specific roles of the LGB will be determined by the LGB in order to effectively carry out their delegated responsibilities.

Where together excellence and pupils thrive

X
Hit enter to search