‘Boards must be ambitious for all children and young people and infused with a passion for education and a commitment to continuous school improvement that enables the best possible outcomes. Governance must be grounded in reality as defined by both high-quality objective data and a full understanding of the views and needs of pupils/students, staff, parents, carers and local communities. It should be driven by inquisitive, independent minds and through conversations focussed on the key strategic issues which are conducted with humility, good judgement, resilience and determination.’
- Governance Handbook March 2019 (DfE)
Our board are central to shaping the ethos and culture across Acorn Education Trust. For more information about how they operate please read the information below. If you're interested in becoming a governor please contact us.
What do Academy Council Governors do?
Academy Councils are a formal part of the Acorn Education Trust governance structure and each Council is responsible for maintaining the unique identity, community ethos and culture in their school. Academy Council Governors provide an essential link between the Trust, the school, parents and the community.
- The relationship between Academy Governors, particularly between the Chairperson, and the Headteacher is crucial to effective governance. Members work in close partnership while always remembering that it is the Headteacher’s role to run the school.
- Sufficient professional distance needs to be kept which will let the Headteacher run the school while the Academy Council holds her/him to account.
What does it take to be a good Academy Governor
Firstly, we expect all governors to adhere to the 7 principles of public life:
Holders of public office should act solely in terms of the public interest.
Holders of public office must avoid placing themselves under any obligation to people or organisations that might try inappropriately to influence them in their work. They should not act or take decisions in order to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves, their family, or their friends. They must declare and resolve any interests and relationships.
Holders of public office must act and take decisions impartially, fairly and on merit, using the best evidence and without discrimination or bias.
Holders of public office are accountable to the public for their decisions and actions and must submit themselves to the scrutiny necessary to ensure this.
Holders of public office should act and take decisions in an open and transparent manner. Information should not be withheld from the public unless there are clear and lawful reasons for so doing.
Holders of public office should be truthful.
Holders of public office should exhibit these principles in their own behaviour. They should actively promote and robustly support the principles and be willing to challenge poor behaviour wherever it occurs.
We also like to see:
- A Commitment to the critical friend role (not inspector/head role)
- An Open mind
- Empathy and sensitivity
- An Effective communicator
- A sense of humour
- An Ability to focus on ‘the big picture’
- A willingness to learn
On appointment all Academy Members will have an up-to-date DBS check and be given safeguarding training.
What is the time commitment?
The Academy Council meets 4 times per year. Dates are published on the school calendar. All Academy Governors attend these meetings.
Academy Governors may, from time to time, be asked to attend additional meetings in school.
- Provide a link between the Governing Bodies and relevant teacher
- Provide a link between the Governing Body/school and parents/community
- Promote the interests of the subject
- Undertake relevant training/development
- Liaise regularly with relevant teachers
- Visits classrooms to observe the subject being taught
- Monitor/evaluate the provision and use of relevant resources
Who is the Chairperson?
The Chair person is elected by the Academy Council annually.
The Chair of Governors meets, by arrangement with the Headteacher on a regular basis. And also attends the Chairs of Acorn Education Trust meetings.
Key responsibilities include:
- Develop and sustain positive professional relationships with the Headteacher and the Academy, Governors, Directors and the Clerk/Governor Adviser.
- Chair meetings, facilitating involvement of all members and summarising the outcomes of discussion under each agenda item.
- Produce an annual key agenda items schedule and initiate the agenda for each meeting
- Ensure meetings are quorate (3 governors) and follow up any attendance issues.
- Approve and sign minutes
- Ensure master copies of policies/procedures under the remit of the council are updated and publicised
- Provide a brief verbal report at each council meeting on outcome of actions noted at previous meeting
- Be familiar with relevant sections of Governors’ Handbook.
- Identify training/support needs of individual members and research appropriate solutions.
- Support new members, providing them with minutes of recent meetings and any other relevant documents.
Who is the Vice Chair?
The Vice Chair is elected by the Academy Council annually. S/he deputises for the Chair of governors and may be delegated specific roles by the Chair person. For example:
- Recruitment /Induction of new governors
- Collating evidence of governors’ work and impact
- Monitoring governors’ information on school website
- Annual parents’ questionnaire
- Building links with wider school community
- Engagement with parents and carers
Governor Adviser to the Academy Trust
The Governor Adviser is clerk and is part of the team, who also works across several schools in the Acorn Education Trust. In conjunction with the Chairperson s/he prepares agendas, takes and circulates action focussed minutes. S/he is able to support with (sources of) information regarding legal issues, training opportunities and advice.