In contrast to many schools, Governance within the Trinity Partnership academies (Weeting Church of England Primary School; Duchy of Lancaster Primary School and The Norman Church of England Primary School) is not undertaken through the operation of a Local Governing Body. Instead, Governance over these academies is achieved through independent direct oversight undertaken by the Diocese of Ely Multi-Academy Trust (DEMAT) across the Trinity Partnership as a whole. This is supplemented by Parent and Community Forums for the academies providing a feedback mechanism for the academy communities to feedback to the schools and to DEMAT on a regular basis.
Direct oversight of the academies was introduced following the resignation of the Chair of Governors of the Local Governing Body and a lack of success by DEMAT and the academies in being able to put in place a replacement Local Governing Body. This decision is reviewed annually.
Governance and reporting
An overview of how the framework works for the Trinity Partnership academies is set out below.
At academy level
The framework provides independent oversight over the academies through the establishment of termly meetings with the Head Teacher and the following DEMAT Central Functions:
1. The DEMAT Hub Director
2. The DEMAT Director of Education or their designate
3. Other representatives of the DEMAT Education team, as appropriate
4. The DEMAT Head of Governance
5. Other representatives of the DEMAT Central team covering the Finance, HR and Premises functions, as appropriate
The meetings are broadly in line with the agenda of normal Local Govering Body meetings and include the Headteacher tabling a Headteacher report for discussion and challenge. They also consider the outcomes of third party audits of the academies including Health and Safety and Safeguarding.
Local policies applied at the academies are approved by the DEMAT Head of Governance. Central DEMAT Policies to be applied by the academies are approved by the DEMAT Trustee Board.
The framework also requires the academies to run a Parent and Community Forum to ensure that a forum for feedback is provided for each of the academies within the Trinity Partnership.
At a Trust level
Oversight of academies within the Trinity Partnership is carried out for Education and for non-Education areas of the academies’ activities.
On the Education side, a system of support, challenge and monitoring of the Trinity Partnership academies is delegated through Trustees and the CEO to the DEMAT Hub Director. The Hub Director conducts regular visits to the academies and meetings with the headteacher and other staff. Principally, this is to support the academies in their improvement journey through several mechanisms, including but not exclusively:
· Support and challenge for the headteacher in development of the Academy Development Plan (ADP)
· Support and challenge for the headteacher and leaders in the self-evaluation process
· Monitoring the academy (alongside leaders) for progress against agreed development actions
· Support for the headteacher and wider team in establishing a programme of CPD
· Support and challenge for subject leaders
· Support and challenge for school leaders around curriculum choices and development
On the non-Education side, the academies fall under the oversight of the DEMAT central functions, being:
1. Premises, incorporating Health and Safety and IT
4. Governance, incorporating Data Protection
On an ongoing basis, all issues arising in any of these areas are processed and reported in summary on a weekly risk dashboard.
On a monthly basis, all issues/key risk identified are reported to the DEMAT Executive Team at a monthly meeting attended by the Heads of these section. The Governance report to the DEMAT Executive includes a specific section on Model B DEMAT academies.
On a quarterly basis or as directed by the DEMAT Trust Board, these reports are summarised and presented to the DEMAT Trust Board Committees as appropriate (DEMAT Standards and Ethos, Finance and Estates, Personnel and Audit and Risk).
On an annual basis, the DEMAT Head of Governance carries out a review of the effectiveness of the Model B framework across DEMAT.
A record of all Governance documents held and created for the Trinity Partnership academies are held on secure internal DEMAT database.
Parent and Community Forum
The framework also requires The Trinity Partnership to run a Parent and Community Forum to ensure that the termly oversight meeting properly considers parental feedback in The Trinity Partnership. There are at least two Parent Forum Members from each school. Any parent wishing to attend Forum meetings is welcome to attend. The Parent and Community Forum ("PAC") may also include people in the community who have an interest in the school such as local clergy or council representatives.
Purpose of the Forum
- This group of parents and community members provide valuable input on school initiatives and programmes from a parental/community perspective. They also raise issues that parents/community feel need to be addressed by the schools and help develop recommendations on how to continually improve the school particularly regarding the pupil and parent experience.
- Promote and encourage parent and community participation in the school.
- Provide a communication link between the school and the community.
- Help identify the concerns of pupil, parents and community members and assist in developing solutions.