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Governance Overview

Accountability for decisions

The Trust Board delegate authority to two key groups in order to ensure the effective leadership and governance of the Academy Trust.  The key groups are:

  • Executive leadership and management team (the Executive Team);
  • Local Academy Boards.

 The relationship between the Trust Board, the Executive Team and the Local Academy Boards is characterised as a partnership to realise a common vision and a common purpose based on the principles of:

  • no duplication of governance.
  • governance should be as close as possible to the point of impact of decision-making.

 The Scheme of Delegation provides clarity as to who the decision makers are for different levels of decisions. Effectiveness of both management and governance is supported through clarity over who holds the decision-making responsibility and who supports and advises the decision makers.


The Trust Board remains ultimately responsible for the Academy Trust and the conduct of the Academies. The operation of the various elements of governance outlined are crucial to the success of the group. However, there will be circumstances (more the exception than the norm) where the Trust Board might need to intervene and, for example, withdraw delegated authority a particular element of governance.

In such circumstances, the Trust Board, along with the Executive Team, would work closely with any Academies concerned and those involved in their governance who would be expected to promptly implement any advice or recommendations made by the Trust Board and the Executive Team.

The Trust Board reserves the right to review or remove any power or responsibility which it has delegated, in particular, in circumstances where serious concerns in the running of an Academy (or Academies) are identified, including where:

  • there are concerns about financial matters;
  • insufficient progress is being made against educational targets (including where intervention by the Secretary of State is being considered or carried out);
  • there has been a breakdown in the way the Academy is managed or governed; or
  • the safety of pupils or staff is threatened, including a breakdown of discipline.


The Hawksmoor Learning Trust (THLT) has “Members” who are best viewed as guardians of the constitution, changing the Articles if necessary and ensuring the charitable object is fulfilled. The Members appoint some of the Trustees and can exercise reserve powers to appoint and remove Trustees but it is anticipated that this power will be rarely exercised. The Academy Trust currently has three Members.

Trust Board

The corporate management and trustee responsibility for the actions of the company is vested in the “Trustees” of the Academy Trust (together, referred to as "the Trust Board"), who are company directors registered with Companies House. The Trustees are personally responsible for the actions of the Academy Trust and the Academies and are accountable to the Members, to the Secretary of State for Education and to the wider community for the quality of the education received by all pupils of the Academies and for the expenditure of public money. The Trustees are required, as trustees and in accordance with the Funding Agreements, to have systems in place through which they can assure themselves of the quality, safety and good practice of the affairs of the Academy Trust.

The role of the Trust Board includes:

  • Setting the vision, ethos and strategy for the Academy Trust and its academies over the next three to five years;
  • Establishing the governance structures for the Academy Trust, from Members to Academy level, in keeping with the Articles of Association;
  • Providing clarity, through the published Scheme of Delegation of the level at which the following governance functions are exercised:
    • determining each individual Academy’s vision, ethos and strategic direction
    • recruiting each Academy’s Headteacher
    • performance management of each Academy’s Headteacher
    • determining Human Resources policy and practice
    • oversight of each Academy’s budget
    • assessment of the risks for each Academy.
  • Setting the level at which the Local Academy Boards will have authority and accountability through the scheme of delegation;
  • Engaging with the Academies' communities, parents, pupils and staff;
  • Contributing to developing collaborative relationships beyond the Academy Trust;
  • Ensuring that there is a strong and effective executive leadership structure and personnel in place across the Trust;
  • Overview and scrutiny of the Academy Trust’s financial capability and management systems to ensure compliance with the Academies Financial Handbook, and deliver best value for money;
  • Ensuring senior leaders within Academies are challenged to improve the education of pupils;
  • Holding the Executive Principal to account for standards and outcomes;
  • Developing the Trust Board to ensure that it has the capacity, skills and succession plans to have a positive impact on outcomes for pupils.

 The Trust Board sets Trust-wide policy.

The Board will carry out a regular skills audit of its Trustees. Where key skills are missing on the Board, expertise will be procured to support the challenge and scrutiny of specialist areas such as Finance, HR or educational performance.

Trust Board Sub-Committees

Trust Board Sub-Committees will provide the overview and high-level scrutiny of the prioritised risks. The principle of ‘no duplication of governance’ requires a clear differentiation of the nature of the scrutiny and challenge provided by the Trust Board Sub-Committees of each Academy’s contribution to the overall performance of the Academy Trust. The Trust Board Sub-Committees comprise of:

  • Educational Standards and Performance
  • Pupil Welfare and Safeguarding
  • Resources –Finance and Human Resources
  • Risk and Audit.

The Finance Sub-Committee shall establish a remuneration committee for determining senior executive salaries and performance criteria. Senior executives include the Executive Principal (EP) and any member of the Executive Team that reports directly to the EP subject to the overall budget limits and pay policy approved by the Trust Board.

Executive Team

The Hawksmoor Learning Trust ‘Executive Team’ is the executive management arm of the Academy Trust, focusing on operations and the educational performance of the Academies. They operate under the leadership and direction of the Executive Principal, who is by virtue of her position an ex-officio Trustee of the Academy Trust. The Executive Team work directly with the staff in each Academy and have a fundamental role to play in developing and maintaining positive relationships and common purpose with the Local Academy Boards, providing the appropriate skills and experience to effectively support and challenge in the four areas of scrutiny: educational standards and performance; finance; Human Resources ; risk and audit. to ensure that the required outcomes are achieved in accordance with the direction and vision of the Trust Board.

Executive meetings take place regularly to:

  • Monitor, challenge and support standards and outcomes;
  • Promote the values of independence and interdependence;
  • Build relationships;
  • Evaluate provision and practice;
  • Identify talent
  • Generate new ideas;
  • Ensure Trust policy implementation and influence policy development; and
  • Provide a starting point for consultation.


Local Academy Boards (LABs)

Our Local Academy Boards are the champions of our values in our Academies.  The role of a Local Governor within a Multi-Academy Trust is an important one. In developing our governance arrangements, the Trust Board has sought to ensure that the responsibility to govern is vested in those closest to the impact of decision- making and that such responsibility matches the capacity of those assuming responsibility. The Trust Board establishes Local Academy Boards for each of the Academies, for the most part made up of individuals drawn from the Academy’s community, both as elected and appointed members.

The Local Governors are accountable to the Trust Board (who in turn is accountable to the Department for Education) as well as to the communities they serve.

 The broad duties of the Local Academy Board are summarised as:

  • To contribute to and fulfil the vision and ethos of The Hawksmoor Learning Trust in so far as it relates to the Academy, ensuring that the Academy achieves the aims and ambitions it has for its pupils, having regard in particular to the benefits of being part of a family of schools which stresses the importance of collaboration and mutual support;
  • To implement, review and challenge from time to time the strategic plan for the Academy, focusing on the Academy’s performance and achieving sustained school improvement and having regard to any locally agreed priorities identified by the Trust Board;
  • To act as a critical friend to the Academy’s senior leadership team, being ready to challenge and hold senior leaders to account for all aspects of the Academy’s performance;
  • To oversee the management of the finances of the Academy, assessing the annual budget prepared by the Academy’s Headteacher (with the support of the Academy’s senior leadership team) and submitting such for approval by the Trust Board, ensuring that the Academy works within its budget and the Academy’s senior leadership team adopts and implements appropriate risk and financial management policies and practices;
  • To support the Trust Board in ensuring that insurance or equivalent risk protection is put in place and maintained for all risk areas including damage to property, employer liability, public and third party liability and director liability in accordance with any policy issued by the Trust Board from time to time;
  • To support the Academy’s Headteacher in the development and review (from time to time) of an appropriate staffing structure for the Academy, ensuring there is robust and accountable monitoring of the performance of staff and implementing all and any policies relating to staff adopted by the Trust Board;
  • To support the Trust Board in its monitoring and evaluation of the delivery of any central services and functions provided or procured by the Academy Trust for the Academies, reporting any issues or concerns to the Executive Principal and, if necessary, the Chair of the Trust Board;
  • To promote within the organization, and externally, the benefits of collaboration with the other Academies and to actively seek opportunities to work together either with the aim of improving economic efficiencies within the Academies or identifying and implementing best practice;
  • To develop effective links within the Academy’s community, communicating openly and frequently as appropriate and ensuring that the Academy meets its responsibilities to the community and serves the community’s needs in relation to the safeguarding and education of its pupils; and
  • To engage fully and openly with any inspection of the Academy, whether by the Trust Board, Ofsted or any other appropriate public body to whom the Academy is accountable.

 Composition of governance elements


  • The Chair of Trustees of ‘The Hawksmoor Learning Trust’
  • Up to 3 Members who are not also Trustees
  • Any person appointed under Article 15A of the Articles of Association

Subject that the minimum number of Members shall not be less than three

No employees of the Academy Trust may be a Trust Member

 Trust Board

  • Up to 8 Trustees appointed by the Members
  • Up to 3 Co-Opted Trustees

Subject that the minimum number of Members shall not be less than three and not more than 10 (DfE requirement).

Trustees who are employees of the Trust must not exceed one third of the total number of Trustees

  • The Executive Principal /Chief Executive Officer of the Trust is an ex-officio Trustee
  • The Finance Director of the Trust is an ex-officio Trustee

Local Academy Board – of each Academy School

  • The Headteacher
  • A Trustee from the Trust Board
  • 4 Governors appointed by the Trustee Board
  • Up to 3 Parent Governors elected or appointed by Governors
  • Up to 2 Staff Members

Subject that the minimum number of 2 Parent Governors shall not be less than three


Governance at The Radstone Primary School (new school)

In the first year of opening, governance will be directly overseen by the Trust Board through monitoring reports from the Executive Principal and the Finance Director.

A Parent Advisory Group will be set up which will act as a regular (half-termly) communication forum between the new parent community and the school leadership.  This will be supported by the Executive Principal to ensure stakeholder views are heard.

In the course of the first year of operation, the school will seek to recruit Local Governors, ensuring an appropriate spectrum of skills, who will undergo induction and training through attending Local Academy Board meetings in the Trust’s other academies.  The Trust Board will also seek to appoint other governors so that the Local Academy Board is ready to operate in year two / three. 

The new Local Academy Board may operate to a more limited delegation to enable early focus on pupil welfare, curriculum and standards, transitioning to the full scheme of delegation as and when an appropriate strength of governance has been established.