Supporting the culture of each school within the Trust, and the effective management of a dynamic organisation.
We believe that the best people to govern our schools are their own governing bodies. People who are local to them, know them well, care about the students and have the appropriate professional skills.
Athena Schools Trust is governed by a Board of Trustees constituted under a Memorandum of Articles of Association.
The Board of Trustees
The Board of Trustees provides a strategic overview of the running of the academies and ensures that all schools in the MAT are well-governed, putting the education of young people first and driven by the Headteachers’ Group.
The Trust is there to monitor standards across the MAT and to ensure there is optimum collaboration between schools, enhancing education and best practice in school management, procurement and operational services.
The Trust believes that Trustees should be appointed for their professional, educational and governance skills, rather than as direct representatives of the various member schools.
All trustees have the interests of every member school at their heart and do not serve on individual school's Local Governing Bodies (LGBs), in order to separate governance levels.
Trustees are responsible for
• Strategic planning
• Ensuring sound management of all schools in the MAT
• Ensuring legal compliance
• Overseeing safeguarding across the MAT
• Establishing, with headteachers, a system of internal controls to monitor schools’ performance and effectiveness
• Ensuring that all employees working for AST have fair and equitable employment terms with challenging CPD
• Ensuring that the MAT is solvent and that all schools are achieving best value for money
• Performance management of the executive lead
• Appointment of headteachers, with input from the local governing body
• Supporting schools’ succession planning and recruitment
• Helping schools to be responsive to the needs of parents and their local communities
• Assessing and managing risk
• Monitoring and evaluating plans for improvement across the MAT
• Using external, independent evaluation to monitor their effectiveness
• Establishing a separate audit committee
Members appoint the Trustees to the Board. Members have the authority to remove Trustees if necessary and do not sit on any other committees. Articles of Association
Joint Governors Council (JGC)
A Joint Governors Council (JGC) ensure that the voices of local governors are heard and communicated with the Trust and the Headteachers’ Group.
This is made up of two representatives from every member school.
• The JGC's key role is to ensure that the knowledge and requirements of individual schools are fairly represented in the MAT; and is responsible for drawing up its terms of reference.
• The JGC has the power to challenge the Board and the Headteachers' Group on strategic matters when necessary.
• The JGC is also responsible for improving the standard of governance across the MAT through training and sharing of best practice.
This comprises of the headteachers, or heads of school, from every member school in the Trust.
• The group will meet monthly, with the main purpose of ensuring that all schools offer the best education possible to every pupil.
• The group drives the school improvement and academic strategies of the MAT and must ensure that the Trust provides the finances and support for it to carry out its school improvement work.
• The group supports the appointment of teaching staff and is responsible for the deployment of staff across the MAT to best benefit the students' and staff development.
Local Governing Bodies (LGBs)
Local Governing Bodies will maintain a high level of strategic responsibility for their school and will continue to recruit members on a skillset basis, as well as to represent and reflect their local community, especially parents.
• All LGBs must include staff representatives, other than the head.
• The minutes from the local boards will be circulated to Trustees.
• LGBs will find that many of their more ‘bureaucratic’ duties (eg detail of policy writing) will be carried by the Trust, freeing up more of their time to focus on Learning and Teaching.
Headed by the Trust’s finance director, this group is made up of the business managers and bursars of the member schools plus appropriate co-opted professionals from in and outside the MAT.
The Operations Group contributes to the termly monitoring return to the Trust.
Its responsibilities include ensuring that all schools are financially viable, examining and progressing synergies across the MAT, highlighting capital and maintenance projects, and ensuring that MAT services such as HR, compliance and payroll, are effectively run and monitored.
The Operations Group also plays a key role in assessing schools that have requested to join Athena Schools Trust.