The Trust governance model consists of Members, Trust Board/Directors and local governing bodies. The Members are appointed by the Bishop of Lancaster and the Diocese has ultimate control over the academy trust, with the ability to appoint the majority of the trustees (Foundation Directors) and the right to amend the trust’s articles of association. The members of BEBCMAT are the Bishop of Lancaster (Bishop Paul Swarbrick), the Episcopal Vicar for Education and Formation, Fr Michael Doherty, and the Diocesan Board of Education Trustees.
Academy trustees/directors: The directors are responsible for the same three core governance functions performed by the governing body in a maintained school: setting the direction, holding the headteacher (the leadership of the organisation) to account and ensuring financial probity. As charity trustees, they must also ensure that they are complying with charity law requirements.
Local governors: Individuals who sit on local governing bodies (LGBs) are referred to as ‘local governors’. This is because the directors can delegate governance functions to the local level. Subject to the restrictions in the articles of association and any guidance issued by the Archdiocese, the directors have discretion over what is delegated to each LGB. They may, for example, decide to delegate all functions to academies in the trust that are performing well and fewer to those academies that need greater support. The details of what has been delegated from the directors to local governors will be detailed in the scheme of delegation for the Trust. This will make it clear what responsibilities are retained by the board of directors of the trust (the Trust Board) and what responsibilities are to be given to each Local Governing Body.
The role of the local governing body in a multi academy trust is a valuable one in providing local governance as well as offering assistance to the Trustees/Directors in fulfilling their responsibilities. The purpose of the LGB is to provide focused governance for an academy at the local level. It should also monitor the academy’s key performance indicators and act as support and challenge to the Headteacher. The LGB will also play an important role in representing the views of the academy stakeholders. The specific functions of the LBG are clearly laid out in the Trust’s scheme of delegation.
Local Governors contribute to the work of the Local Governing Body in ensuring high standards of achievement for all children and young people in the academy by:
- Supporting the academy’s vision, ethos and strategic direction in line with that of the Academy Trust.
- Supporting and challenging leaders on the educational performance of the academy and its pupils, and their well-being and safety.