As an Academy Trust, our governance arrangements differ from those in maintained schools. In maintained schools there is only one tier of governance – the “Governing Body”.
As a charitable company limited by guarantee, the Eastern Multi-Academy Trust’s governance is undertaken in the same way as any other registered company. This involves an additional layer of governance, known as the “Members” (see Fig. 1 below). The Members are the original subscribers to the Trust’s Memorandum of Association plus any other individual subsequently permitted to become a Member under the Trust’s Articles of Association. Ultimately, they are financially responsible for the Trust. The Members have an overview of the governance arrangements of the Trust but are not involved in its day to day management. Members have a reserved number of powers designed to support stronger governance arrangements such as being able to change the constitutional documents i.e. the Articles of Association and to appoint or remove a set number of Directors.
The body responsible for the management and administration of the Eastern Multi-Academy Trust in line with its Articles of Association is the “Board of Directors”. The Board is the “Governing Body” (with the powers and statutory status held by the Governing Body in a maintained school), making strategic decisions about the day to day running of the Trust, directing its affairs, ensuring it is solvent, well-run and delivering its charitable outcomes for the benefit of the public. It is permissible for Members of the Trust to also be Directors.
The Board has to answer to three different branches of law – company law, charity law and education law. In company law terms, those on the Board are known as “Directors” of the Trust; in charity law, they would be known as “Trustees”; in education terminology they would be known as “Governors”. The terminology is interchangeable as the role, duties and responsibilities are essentially the same. In a single academy trust, this layer of governance may well still be called “Governors”. As a Multi-Academy Trust (MAT), the Eastern Multi-Academy Trust has chosen the term “Directors” to avoid confusion (see AC section below). The Board of Directors is accountable for all academies within the MAT.
In order to facilitate governance and provide detailed focus, the Board of Directors has established a number of committees to which it has delegated some governance functions. These include a Finance & Resources Committee, HR & Performance Management Committee and an Audit Committee. In addition, whilst the Board retains ultimate responsibility for each academy within the MAT, Directors have established an Academy Council (AC) at each of its academies to provide relevant localised representation and advice to the Board. Those serving on Academy Councils are referred to as “Governors”. Ad-hoc committees are formed as required e.g. Learner Discipline Committee, Hearings and Appeals Committees.
Each of these committees has its own range of duties, powers, responsibilities and tasks to perform. The structure, remit and reporting mechanisms of the Board of Directors and all its committees are outlined in the Eastern Multi-Academy Trust’s Constitution and Terms of Reference (and Scheme of Delegation) document, which is kept under constant review in order to ensure the organisation remains efficient and effective in its proceedings.
The Eastern Multi-Academy Trust has the learner at the heart of all it does and aims to provide a strong leadership and governance framework in order to both challenge and support its academies across the primary and secondary phases in their journey to outstanding.