Trustees - Core functions of governance
Meadowhead School is a Single Academy Trust. The trustees of the academy trust are both charity trustees and company directors. The term “trustee” is interchangeable with the term governor.
The following is extracted from the Academy trust handbook 2021 (also known as the Academies financial handbook)
1.12 The trustees should focus on three core functions of governance:
- Ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction
- Holding executive leaders to account for the educational performance of the organisation and its pupils, and the performance management of staff
- Overseeing and ensuring effective financial performance
1.13 The trustees must apply the highest standards of governance and ensure robust governance, as these are critical for effective finance management. They should follow the Governance Handbook, which describes the following features of effective governance in more detail and will aid compliance with the Academy trust handbook:
- strategic leadership that sets and champions vision, ethos and strategy
- accountability that drives up educational standards and financial performance
- people with the right skills, experience, qualities and capacity
- structures that reinforce clearly defined roles and responsibilities
- compliance with statutory and contractual requirements
- evaluation of governance to monitor and improve its quality and impact.
1.14 Trustees must comply with the trust’s charitable objectives, with company and charity law, and with their contractual obligations under the funding agreement. Company 14 directors’ duties are described in sections 170 to 181 of the Companies Act 2006, but in summary are to:
- Act within their powers
- Promote the success of the company
- Exercise independent judgement
- Exercise reasonable care, skill and diligence
- Avoid conflicts of interest
- Not to accept benefits from third parties
- Declare interest in proposed transaction arrangements.
As an organisation, the trust has a range of obligations under current legislation and statutory guidance. Trusts obligations include such matters as safeguarding, health and safety and estates management. Ensuring strong governance in these areas will be a key priority for the board.
The chair of trustees is responsible for ensuring the effective functioning of the board and setting professional standards of governance.