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Tennyson Primary School

The Trust Board

The Trust Board

The Trust Board

Top 10 ‘musts’ for our Trustees:

  • Apply highest standards of governance, comply with charitable objects, with duties as company directors, with charity law and with the funding agreement

  • Ensure the Board of Trustees meets at least three times a year, and conducts business only when quorate

  • Approve a written scheme of delegation of financial powers

  • Ensure there are measures to manage conflicts of interest, be even-handed in relationships with related parties, and ensure goods or services provided by them are at no more than cost

  • Ensure the Board approves and minutes a balanced budget for the financial year

  • Ensure management accounts are shared with the Chair of Trustees monthly, with the other Trustees six times a year, and are considered by the Board when it meets, taking action to maintain financial viability

  • Ensure decisions about executive pay follow a robust evidence-based process reflective of the individual’s role and responsibilities, and that the Board’s approach to pay is transparent, proportionate and justifiable

  • Establish an audit committee to provide assurance over the suitability of, and compliance with, the Trust’s financial systems and operational controls and to manage risks

The Board of Trustees manages the business of the Academy Trust and may exercise all the powers of the Academy Trust. The Board has the necessary expertise and capacity to undertake its three core functions of 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; and overseeing the financial performance of the organisation and making sure its money is well spent. There are 9 trustees each with complementary commercial, professional and educational skills and experience providing objective support and challenge for the Trust executive and senior leaders.

The Board is responsible for the Trust’s accountability to Parliament and to the Secretary of State as the Principal Regulator of Academy Trusts as exempt charities. Trustees hold statutory duties as a company director of the Trust to exercise care, skill and diligence and avoid conflicts of interest.

The CEO as lead executive leader and accounting officer for the Trust, is required to ensure regularity, propriety and value for money and the chief financial officer must ensure appropriate financial arrangements operate day to day. The funding agreement between the Trust and the Secretary of State sets out the funding arrangements, obligations and termination provisions. The Trust is governed by the model funding agreement for multi-academy trusts and the agreed funding agreement is attached in the policy in finance section of the website.

The Board, working in partnership with the executive will:

  • have a clear vision and ethos and articulate how the Board sets the strategic direction

  • provide strong strategic direction

  • be ambitious and achieve strong governance that will transform our academies and schools building effective partnerships with parents, communities, businesses and other stakeholders

  • strengthen professional leadership by appointing outstanding leaders appropriate to the challenge.

  • hold academy leaders and governors accountable for high standards of education and safeguarding against clear benchmarks and performance measures

  • ensure that resources, within a constrained financial environment, are used in the most effective way

  • will appoint a single executive leader and accounting officer, who will take responsibility for results

  • ensure that there are clear arrangements in place to oversee financial performance to make sure public money is well spent

  • clearly define and publish the scheme of delegation which sets out the split of responsibility for governance functions between the Board, executives, and the local governing body

Trust Committees

The Board needs robust, standardised and efficient processes for effective governance. This is achieved through the meetings of the full Board, its sub-groups and the reports and recommendations received from local governors. The Board and its committees meet regularly and meetings will take place at least six times a year to maintain effective oversight of funds and performance in general.

In this way, the following accountabilities are considered:

  • oversight and performance management of executive leaders and other key staff

  • receiving management information and accounts every month that can in turn be presented to the Board in an easily accessible format that enables comparison of the performance of schools across the MAT

  • managing risk including setting and manage risk, tolerance and mitigation strategies

  • ensuring compliance, regularity, propriety and value for money

  • accurate and up-to-date documentation and effective communication of the Board’s decisions and impact to parents, the community and local governing bodies

The Finance, Risk and Audit Committee

The Board, through the FRA Committee, ensures that budget forecasts, for the current year and beyond, are compiled accurately, based on realistic assumptions including any provision being made to sustain capital assets, and are reflective of lessons learned from previous years. It challenges pupil number forecasts as these underpin revenue projections. There is an integrated approach to curriculum and financial planning to ensure staffing costs are proportionate to need. The Trust requires schools to commit to its Integrated Curriculum and Financial Planning tool (ICFP) so that the academies benefit from benchmarking of best practice and high quality curriculum planning that is accurately costed.

Academies are expected to prepare management accounts every month to be shared with the Chair of Trustees setting out their financial performance and position, comprising budget variance reports and cash flow forecasts with sufficient information to manage cash, debtors and creditors to ensure ongoing viability. The Trust must be able to show that public funds have been used as intended by Parliament. The Trust will maintain strong accounting records and prepare an annual report and audited accounts in line with the Charity Commission’s recommended practice and ESFA’s Accounts Direction.

Risk and Audit Committee

The Risk and Audit Committee combines with the Finance Committee with 3 trustees on the committee. The committee is also attended by the CEO (accounting officer) and the operations director (chief financial officer). The committee provides assurance to the Board over the suitability of, and compliance with, its financial systems and operational controls, and to ensure that risks are being adequately identified and managed.

The accounting officer and COO attend to provide information and participate in discussions.  Oversight by trustees ensures that information submitted that affects funding, including pupil number returns and funding, is accurate and compliant with further assurance provided through independent scrutiny and internal audit. The Finance, Risk and Audit Committee meet on six occasions throughout the academic year.

Curriculum, Pupil Welfare and Performance

The Trust Curriculum, Pupil Welfare and Performance committee has been established to ensure that the core purpose of the Trust is given the highest priority by the Trust Board and the executive. Senior leaders provide key performance indicators and analysis to the committee, which comprises of three trustees. The committee is supported by the Director of Education and the senior leaders of the schools.