St Peter’s Voluntary Academy Trust
Role of Trustees/Governors
In an academy “trustees” fulfil the roles traditionally fulfilled by governors. At St Peter’s trustees are usually still referred to as Governors (Trustees).
Academies have the legal status of companies and are also charitable trusts. This means trustees have the responsibilities of both company directors and charity trustees.
They must have the best interests of the academy uppermost in their minds at all times and have a duty of compliance, ensuring all relevant laws and regulations are followed. As holders of a public office, trustees should also be aware of the Nolan principles of public life: selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership.
Like all company directors and charity trustees, academy trustees must be autonomous in their decision-making and avoid conflicts of interest. For example, if they are connected to another organisation in the local community, such as a business, their decisions as a trustee must be made independently.
Governors have a strategic role to play within the school organisation, leaving the day-to-day operational matters to the Headteacher and staff.
Remit of Governors
The Governors of a Catholic school work as a team, in close co-operation with the headteacher and all the staff. Foundation Governors share the responsibilities of all governors:
- ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction;
- holding the headteacher to account for the educational performance of the school and its pupils, and the performance management of staff; and
- overseeing the financial performance of the school and making sure its money is well spent.
In addition Foundation Governors are appointed specifically to ensure:
- that the religious character of the school is preserved
- that the school is conducted in accordance with its trust deed
- that the religious education curriculum is in accordance with the Bishop’s policy for the Diocese
Governors need to be clear about the aims and values of the school and prepared to work with the school as a “critical friend “recognising and celebrating achievements, supporting and encouraging strategies to bring about improvements, but also asking challenging questions to ensure objectives are met.
The Governing Body is one of the key players in the school development/improvement planning process and Governors are involved in the review of the school development plan and the drawing up of the priorities for the coming year.
Governors receive information and discuss issues at the termly Full Governing Body meetings, although much of the work is delegated to the three committees which also meet at last once each term:
Finance, Resources and Premises (FRP)
Student Welfare and Catholicity (SWC)*
Teaching Learning and Achievement (TLA)
Governors are responsible for the appointment of the Headteacher, and are frequently involved in the interviews of other staff, particularly at senior level despite rarely being experts in educational matters.
*SWC deals with Admissions matters and meets more frequently than the other two committees – both to approve changes to the Admissions Policy (before ratification by the Governing Body) and to consider bulk applications for entry into Years R and 7 in Accordance with the Admissions Policy.
All Governors sign the Code of Conduct agreement.