Governance Framework

The Lincolnshire Educational Trust Governance Framework 2016/17

Context

The Lincolnshire Educational Trust Governance Framework set out below builds on best practice published by DfE Governors’ Handbook, National College of Teaching and Leadership (NCTL), Governance of multi-academy trusts and the Education Funding Agency (EFA) Academies Financial Handbook; but seeks to provide an efficient and effective structure for supporting and holding the academies to account.

Introduction

This document sets out the mission and values of the Trust and the Trust’s approach to improving performance. It sees a clear and coherent governance framework with related scheme of delegation as critical to enhancing the performance of each academy. The Governance framework also sets out the role of Members, Directors/Trustees, Chief Executive, Academy Governing Bodies, Principals and Chief Finance Officer. It is subject to annual review by both Members and Directors/Trustees.

As specified in the Memorandum of Association, The Lincolnshire Educational Trust (LET) is responsible for all aspects of work of its academies.

The Mission of the Lincolnshire Educational Trust:

 A Trust that seeks to develop academies that are schools of first choice through their educational excellence, developing young people to enhance their life chances through academic, cultural and sporting achievements, personal development and becoming confident life long learners.

The Lincolnshire Educational Trust values:

  • Every child and young person enabled to achieve their maximum potential, with learners and teaching being at the heart of all that we do
  • Parents and Carers who support their children’s learning
  • Our excellent staff who are trained and encouraged to bring out the true potential in others
  • An aspirational, ambitious and innovative can do environment for all our learners and staff
  • Partnership working where genuine collaboration, care and collective responsibility for one another takes place and enhances learning for all
  • Intelligent accountability that is rigorous in its application and seeks to enable every child and young person to progress their learning
  • High levels of integrity from everyone and the development of our learners and staff to take personal responsibility for their actions
  • Making education enjoyable and creating a desire to want to learn more.

Individual academies within the Trust may add to or expand on the values, but such changes must be submitted to the Board of Trustees for approval.

Approach to Improvement

The Lincolnshire Educational Trust (LET) has a defined approach to managing its academies and is explicit in the underlining approach that Principals should apply when providing excellent education.

The LET approach to managing our academies is to delegate maximum responsibility to our Principals as we firmly believe that through their leadership, we can optimise the educational and developmental performance of our children and young people. To support the Principals the Chief Executive provides professional leadership and guidance. The Trust has established a rigorous accountability framework through the Trust Board and each Academy Governing Committee. The Trust Board focuses on the strategic issues and delegates to each Academy Governing Committee the focus on monitoring children and young people’s learning, including individual learners progress and specific groups of learners, through constantly challenging the executive on the effectiveness of its support to learners.

The LET approach to raising standards in our academies is based on five tenets:

  1.  Setting high aspirations for every learner in all aspects of academy life.
  2. Knowing every learner and designing support and encouragement in a manner that ensures each can grow and know they can achieve in a safe environment.
  3. Providing Inspirational teaching by high quality staff that embeds literacy and numeracy in the curriculum, whilst providing a broad and diverse curriculum that captivates children and young people so they become life long learners.
  4. Maximising and celebrating every learner’s achievements and progress through high quality teaching and support.
  5. Promoting exemplary behaviour that is characterised by a respectful and caring environment, where rules are understood and accepted.

Governance and Leadership

The Lincolnshire Educational Trust (LET) has three tiers of governing committees, with executive staff represented at both Director and Governor level to ensure effective and operationally coherent decision-making. In addition there is an operational management board which represents Principals, Chairs of Governors and CEO to ensure effective management of the Trust. The scheme of delegated authority establishes the appropriate level for decisions to be made. The LET reserves the right to set difference levels of delegation for each academy based on their educational and/or finance performance. For 2016/17 all Academies will have the same level of delegated authority. The three tiers of governance are as follows:

Member (Sponsor)

Director (Trustee) – Board of Trustees

Governors – Academy Governing Committee (AGC)

Management – Operations Board

Members

The Members are the sponsors who established the Trust and signed its Memorandum and Articles of Association. They appoint and dismiss Directors/Trustees, and they determine their own membership. There are three Members. The Members establish the constitution of the LET and determine its mission, ethos, values and key strategy. They must consult with Directors on issues regarding new Academies joining the Trust, however the decision remains with members. Members can also be Directors/Trustees, but to provide a degree of independence, only two members are Trustees. This group will meet at least twice a year to consider the performance of the Trust and assess the strategic direction. The University Governance team provides the clerking. Membership is as follows:

Professor Mary Stuart, Vice Chancellor University of Lincoln (Chair)

Professor Toby Wilkinson (Chair of Trustees)

Roger Buttery (Independent Member)

Directors (Trustees) – Board of LET

The Directors/Trustees form the Board of Trustees of the LET and are Directors of the Trust. They set the strategic direction for the LET and are accountable to the Secretary of State for the performance of the academies within it. Directors can also be members of Academy Governing Committees (AGCs) and best practice indicates this supports the efficient running of the Trust.

The members believe their Board of Trustee must have the following skills: Expertise in strategic leadership; school improvement, teaching and learning, management and leadership in each sector of education; financial skills at charter accountancy status; legal expertise; HR skills; business development skills; educational research skills and experience as a school governor. The Board of Trustees will have a maximum of 10 members including two ex officio members. The Members priorities in establishing the Board membership are as follows:

  1. To have the appropriate skill set to lead the Trust as it develops and Members will appoint up to four Trustees to ensure the appropriate skill set are met.
  2. To ensure academy leadership is represented as set out in our approach, with a focus on school improvement and pupils progress there will be three executive Principals on the Trust Board, one representing secondary education, one primary education and one representing special education. (Note: At this stage it appears that all Principals are on the Board, however the maximum number will be three and they will be chosen by Members.)
  3. To ensure Academy Governing Committees are represented there will be one place for a Chair of and AGC, chosen by the members.
  4. The CEO and CFO will be ex officio members of the Board.

The Board of Trustees has established the scheme of delegated authority for Executive staff and for AGCs. The Trust will apply a scheme of earned autonomy for AGCs, to reflect the success or otherwise of the academy. The Trust will usually meet four times per year. The Board is quorate when at least one-third of Directors/Trustees are present – in special cases two-thirds are required, see the Articles of Association for specific details. The Members appoint and determine the term of office for a Director. The University Governance team provides the clerking. Minutes will be approved at the following meeting and become available for publication 10 working days after that approval. The Chair, CEO and CFO have the facility to get approval for urgent decisions through email decision making, however more than 51% have to give approval, excluding the person seeking approval.

Membership:

Professor Toby Wilkinson, Deputy Vice Chancellor, University of Lincoln, Chair of Trustees and Chair of Governors University Academy Holbeach

Professor Val Braybrooks Dean of Holbeach Campus University of Lincoln, Chair of Audit Committee and Governor University Academy Holbeach

Professor Ian Abrahams Head of Education University of Lincoln

Jenny Worth Chair of Governors Holbeach Primary Academy

Jenny Parry Group Head of Talent at Bakkavor (Independent Member)

Andy Breckon Chief Executive Officer Ex officio

Catherine Hamblett Chief Finance Officer Ex officio

Steve Baragwanath Principal University Academy Holbeach (Executive Principal Secondary Education)

Sue Boor Principal Holbeach Primary Academy (Executive Principal Primary Education)

Louise Stanton Principal Gosberton House Academy (Executive Principal Special Education)

TBA 1 Independent Persons

The Board, Governors and Executive staff will work to the Nolan seven principles of public life which underpin good governance and will not only avoid real but also perceived conflicts of interest with any connected party relationships. They must all declare any real or perceived interests.

Board of Trustees has one sub-committee the Audit Committee:

Professor Val Braybrooks (Chair of Audit Committee)

Jenny Worth, Trustee

David Braham, Independent Member (Chief Finance Officer, University of Lincoln)

Andy Breckon Chief Executive Officer (In attendance)

Catherine Hamblett Chief Finance Officer (In attendance)

Marion Clare LET Finance Manager (In attendance)

The Trust will use lead executives to bring key issues to the Board and to take action between Board meetings. It may from time to time establish task and finish groups to address key issues. Decision between meeting can be arrived at through electronic means with the approval of the Chair and providing at least 51% of the Board contribute to the decision, this process will be carried out by either the Chair, CEO or CFO.

Lead responsibility for Educational Performance – Principals and Chief Executive Officer (CEO)

Lead responsibility for Finance – Chief Finance Officer (CFO)

Lead responsibility for Resources (Estate, Facilities and HR) – CEO

Schedule for Trust Meetings with some key areas for discussion – this is subject to change as issues emerge:

October

  • Report and analysis of children’s and young person’s performance in the last academic year and any resultant actions.
  • Consider any capital bids and CIF submissions
  • Safeguarding and Child Protection
  • Complaints procedures
  • Policy Approval

December

  • Report on children’s and young person’s progress
  • Approve Annual Report and Financial submission to the Education Funding Agency (EFA)
  • Approval of the Academy Self-Evaluation (ASE)
  • Report on Principal’s performance management
  • Policy Approval

April

  • Report of children’s and young person’s progress
  • Approval of Academy Development Plan (ADP) revisions
  • Approval of Risk Registers and Business Continuity Plans
  • Receive Health and Safety Inspection Reports
  • Policy Approval

July

  • Report of children’s and young person’s performance and expected outcomes
  • Approve budget for next financial year
  • Analysis on overall performance of academies and lessons for the future
  • Review of Governance Framework and Schemes of Delegation
  • Review of Strategic plan
  • Policy Approval

Note: Policy Approval – This agenda item will have all policy/guidance documents approved within the timescales set out by the Trust in the scheme of delegation. All policy/guidance papers must be submitted to Board members 2 weeks prior to the meeting and Board members will be expected to have commented at least 3 days prior to the meeting. The policy will only be debated if the Chair feels there is a key point that cannot be resolved.

Key Documents in Trust and Academy Governance and Management.

  1. The Academy Self Evaluation (ASE) is a crucial document and the LET sees it as a working document. To ensure it is up to date each academy will be expected, where necessary, to update after each Board meeting. The draft ASE will be presented in October and then refined for approval by the AGC at its November meeting and approved at the December Trust meeting. Throughout the year it will be the role of the Principal to update the ASE, major changes should be taken back to the AGC. The Trust does not stipulate a common framework for ASE, however it must be suitable for both Section 5 and Section 8 inspections.
  2. The Academy Development Plan (ADP) should be a short document, which incorporates key areas for development, including the key stands of improvement from the ASE. At this stage both academies are managing rapid growth in numbers and as such having a strategy for managing this will be an important part of the ADP. The Trust does not stipulate a common framework for ADP at this stage of its development. The ADP is discussed and agreed by the AGC in January and goes to the Trust Board in April.
  3. The Budget Plan for each academy is initially discussed with the CEO, CFO and Finance Manager; it is then discussed by the AGC Resources committee before discussion at the full AGC. This takes place in June before going to the Trust Board in July for approval. Throughout the year the Finance Manager reports on deviation from budget agreed at each AGC. The Trust takes a quarterly report on budget performance. Each academy must report its budget to the standard format agreed by the CFO and all financial procedures must conform to the EFA Financial Regulations, which are published annually. Trustees and Governors should note the Annual Report, which are consolidated financial statement has to be agreed, submitted to the EFA and published by the 31st December
  4. All staff in the Multi Academy Trust has the same employer and as such has the same conditions of service. These are contained within the LET Employment Manual, which is updated annual. Any significant changes will be subject to consultation with staff. The Trust is responsible for Employment Manual and the Board must ratify major changes.
  5. The annual Health and Safety Inspection is purchased each year from a qualified external provider. The report is discussed and action by the Resources sub committee and reported to the AGC.
  6. Each academy must maintain a Risk Register to a common format and this is reported to the Audit committee annually. The following structure is used: Meeting educational standards, Complying with statutory and regularity requirements, including safeguarding, Financial risk, Building and Environmental risk and Operational risk.
  7. The LET and each academy must maintain a Business Continuity Plan to a common format and this is reported to the Audit committee annually.
  8. The LET has a common approach to dealing with complaints and its Complaints Procedures are published on our websites.
  9. The Safeguarding Policy/ Child Protection will conform to recommendations from the local authority and include Prevent. It will be annually reviewed.

Governors and the Academy Governing Committee

The Governors form the Academy Governing Committee (AGC) for each academy. The AGC is a committee of the Trust and oversee the functions of academies as delegated to them by Board of Directors. The AGC is quorate when 51% of membership is present. The AGC has three key functions:

  1. Ensuring the Academy is working to the Mission and Values of the LET
  2. Holding the Principal and senior staff to account for the educational performance of the academy and its children and young people, and the performance management of staff; excluding the Principal
  3. Overseeing the financial performance of the academy, ensuring good value for money and ensuring the Buildings and Facilities are fit for purpose

It is important that the AGC has the appropriate skills mix to be able to fulfil its delegated functions. Directors will ensure each AGC has the right skill set through its annual skills audit of Governors. Members will appoint the Chair of the AGC and a key priority in making that appointment will be the focus on improving educational standards. The AGC will usually meet five times per year, although the Chair may call further meetings with the approval of the Chair of the Trust. The Chair of the AGC with the CEO and Principal will agree the Chair of each committee. The AGC will have between 8 and14 governors. Members will include the Principal, who is ex officio, 2 parents, 2 academy staff, a number of appointed governors and at least one Trustee/Directors. The Deputy Principal is expected to attend although not a formal member of the AGC. The terms of office will be 4 years for non-Trustee/Directors. The LET will hold 2 training sessions for Governors during the year and this training will be for all governors in the Trust.

The AGCs will work to a standard 2-hour agenda with a specific focus for each meeting:

  1. Apologies
  2. Approval of notes of previous meeting
  3. Declaration of Interest
  4. Chair feedback on specific general issues and any Trust issues. (Items 1 to 4 5 mins)
  5. Finance Report     (5 mins)
  6. Sub committee report back by Chair (5 mins)
  7. Principal feedback on key issues and artistic, cultural and sporting activities (10 mins)
  8. Focused area for discussion (15 mins) see note 1.
  9. Education monitoring and challenge (1hr 10 mins) See Notes 2 and 3
  10. Policy Approvals   (5 mins) See note 4
  11. Community issues including admissions (5 mins)
  12. AOB

The Finance Manager/Officer will attend for item 5.

Note 1. The normal meeting schedule will be as above but with a focus as set out below:

October – Focus previous year performance and related actions for improvement; Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy;

November – Focus Academy Self-Evaluation (ASE)

February – Focus Academy Development Plan (ADP) Update; Risk Register; Business Continuity Plan

May – Focus Curriculum Changes; Health and Safety Report and Spending plans 2017/18

June – Focus Budget Plans; and review of Policy renewals

Note 2: The Chair of the AGC with the CEO and Principal will agree a lead Governor for each of the following areas: Safeguarding/Child Protection, SEN, Pupil Premium, Attendance and Behaviour. In addition at HPA Early Years and Transition will have a lead governor and the Chair will act as lead for liaison. These non-executive governors will work with the senior member of staff and jointly provide feedback to the Board.

Note 3: Education monitoring and challenge are seen as the most important role for the AGC and the success and subsequent evaluation leads to the following structure for 2016/17.

The key areas of focus for 2016/17 will be:

Holbeach Primary Academy

Early Years, Pupil Premium, Special Educational Needs, High Achievers and Talented, Work scrutiny and Improving Attendance. In addition we will have a focus on safeguarding.

The work scrutiny session with governors, which was so successful, will feature again in 2016/17.

University Academy Holbeach

Post Sixteen Education including apprenticeship proposals, the effectiveness of the three-year KS4 Curriculum, higher ability student performance at KS4, Pupil Premium, Special Educational Needs; Improving Attendance and an analysis of students at risk of exclusion and Alternative provision. In addition we will have a focus on safeguarding.

Gosberton House Academy

There will be a focus on the delivery of the Outreach Programme and other areas to be determined.

In addition to these themes we have noted the significant amount of ‘social work’ both academies are tackling with challenging families and pupils at risk, which is an increasing demand on their time and energy. This is influenced by the local authority switching, or leaving more responsibility with the school to take on social care issues. The CEO will be working with Principals to find a way of giving governors an overview the demands on the system whilst maintaining the necessary confidentiality.

The structure for monitoring identified pupils will be similar to 2015/16.

Holbeach Primary Academy

Reception – will be introduced in the January Governors meeting structure as below.

Year 2 – 1 top quartile pupil, 1 average pupil, 1 pupil premium, 1 special educational needs.

Year 4 – 1 top quartile pupil, 1 average pupil, 1 pupil premium, 1 special educational needs.

Year 6 – 1 top quartile pupil, 1 average pupil, 1 pupil premium, 1 special educational needs.

University Academy Holbeach

There will be increased emphasis on higher ability students

Year 7 – will be introduced in the January Governors meeting structure as in year 9.

Year 9 – 1 top quartile pupil, 1 average pupil, 1 pupil premium, 1 special educational needs.

Year 11 – 2 top quartile pupil, 2 average pupil, 2 pupil premium, 2 special educational needs.

Year 13 – 2 from A’ level pathway; 2 from BTEC pathway and 2 from Apprentices (Can be any year)

The process will be as follows: The academy will identify a pupil where the Governors will be briefed on the background, potential and any major challenges at the first governors meeting. At subsequent meetings we will be informed on track, exceeding expectations, challenges and interventions. Noting any pupil where we need extra briefing. This will form a 20 minute allocation on pupil progress; there will be another 25 minute in depth presentation on a specific area by a senior member of staff or Principal and 15 minutes on overall progress and issues emerging.

At all times in the pupil monitoring and challenge section young people names will not be disclosed to governors as confidentiality is critical.

Note 4: Policy Approval – This agenda item will have all policy/guidance documents approved within the timescales set out in the scheme of delegation.  All policy/guidance papers must be submitted to Board members 1 week prior to the meeting and Board members will be expected to have commented at least 3 days prior to the meeting. The policy will only be debated if the Chair feels there is a key point that cannot be resolved.

Management – Operations Board

The Operations Board is intended to help ensure the Trust is managed effectively and seeking best value for money. It will move round academies. The core members will be Principals, Chair or nominated Governor if Chair cannot attend and CEO who will chair the meetings. In addition business managers/finance officers may also attend for parts of the meetings. This group will coordinate meetings, agree agendas, review contracts, and agree any joint ventures. The meetings will last for approximately 90 minutes with up to 2 per term. This will be reviewed after 12 months.

Principal

The Principal has delegated powers with very clear responsibilities and authority for the day-to-day running of their academy and they are accountable to the Directors/AGCs, depending on where responsibility is delegated within the Trust. The aim of the Trust is to give maximum authority to its Principals, within good governance, to enable them to optimise the performance of their academy. The level of autonomy may vary depending on the performance of each academy.

The LET will appoint a statutory Principal for each academy and see these post holders have key responsibilities for the performance of the individual academy as well as some joint responsibility to work together for the benefit of the Trust. The Members/Trustees may delegate to a committee, to any Trustee holding executive office, to the Chief Executive, to the Principals of Academy or the Chief Finance Officer, such of their powers or functions as they consider being desirable to be exercised by them where such delegation is possible. They do not necessarily have to delegate the same to each academy, but where it differs it is best practice to inform that Academy of the reasons for the changes or differences.

Chief Executive Officer of the LET

This post provides the professional leadership of the Trust working and coaching the Principals, liaising with the DfE and its agencies and working to improve the governance and accountability of the LET. The Chief Executive (CEO) has the day to day operational lead responsibility working with the Chair of the Trust and the Chief Finance Officer. The CEO will have responsibility for carrying out the annual performance management of each Principal and reporting back to members to agree the next year’s targets. They will oversee strategic planning and relationships with outside bodies. The CEO will represent the Trust during any Ofsted inspections. The CEO will appoint the external adviser to each Academy.

Chief Finance Officer of the LET

The Finance Director will support the Accounting Officer to ensure the Trust’s compliance with the Academy’s Financial Handbook issued by the EFA.  They will have responsibility for the preparation and monitoring of the budget.  A key role will be setting the annual budget for each academy and within virement regulations will report against agreed budgets at AGC. They will have responsibility for the preparation of the annual accounts. Trust management accounts will only be produced at Board meetings.  They will delegate to academy finance officers day to day control within the agreed scheme of delegation.  They will be the lead for dealing with the EFA and will report directly to the Trust at each Board meeting. They will establish audit facilities to ensure a process is in place for independent checking of the Trust’s financial controls, systems, transactions and risks.

Scheme of Delegation

LET Scheme of Delegation 2016-17