Rye Academy Trust Governance Structure
Rye Academy Trust Board of Trustees and schools’ leadership are committed to providing the highest standard of education to all students, present and future.
As part of the Trustees’ aim to continually improve the way the trust operates, we are always looking at ways to improve governance and leadership. We have recently undertaken a review of governance as part of our on-going working relationship with both the Department for Education and Regional Schools Commissioner and made some changes to our model in light of best practice recommendations of these key stakeholder groups.
Governance is defined as the structures and processes that are designed to ensure accountability, transparency, responsiveness, stability, equity and inclusiveness, empowerment, and broad-based participation.
Strong governance within our multi-academy trust plays an essential role in driving continuous improvement. We set ambitious targets for school improvement and through providing support and challenge to leaders, hold them to account for their progress in achieving them. Our work centres upon achieving the best progress and outcomes for all our learners.
Review of governance
The governance structure of the trust dating from the establishment of the trust in 2012 is no longer appropriate to the trust's evolving context in 2017 and beyond. In particular, there is a need to streamline accountabilities to achieve a sharper focus on enabling rapid and sustainable school improvement which builds on current successes.
The layers of governance are described below with an indication of key changes arising from the governance review.
The members are akin to the shareholders of a company. They have ultimate control over the academy trust, with the ability to appoint some of the trustees and the right to amend the trust’s articles of association. The powers of the members are unchanged.
The board of trustees (“the trustees”) are responsible for setting the direction of the trust, holding school and executive leaders to account and ensuring financial probity. As charity trustees, they must also ensure that they are complying with charity law requirements. Academy trusts are charitable companies and the trustees are company directors and must comply with company law requirements. As the accountable body for school performance, the board will now exercise this duty through direct oversight of progress and outcomes.
Removal of the Local Governing Boards
The significant change arising from the governance review is the removal of the Local Governing Boards. Under the previous structure, there were two local governing boards – for Rye Community Primary School and Rye College & Studio School respectively which operated as committees of the board under powers delegated to them.
At its meeting on 3rd October 2017, the trustees ratified dissolving the Local Governing Boards. As a consequence of this decision, there is now one governing board for the trust - the Board of Trustees. The trustees have direct oversight of school improvement by monitoring provision and outcomes in the three schools.
How will this change benefit learners?
A key priority for the board of trustees this year (2017-18) will be continuing to strengthen the trust in all its dimensions, crafting a greater sense of all-through provision and providing outstanding governance, leadership and management. By removing the local governing boards, school leaders become directly accountable to the board of trustees, enabling the board to achieve an accurate understanding of school performance, to support and challenge and intervene to raise standards where necessary.
Each trustee is linked with an area of strategic activity. Trustees will work closely with the executive lead(s) of their named areas to provide support and challenge and monitor progress against targets and objectives agreed by the board of trustees.
Are parents represented on the board of trustees?
The trust regards it as very important to have parents represented as a key stakeholder group on the board. The new model of governance retains all three former parent governors who move over to become trustees.
The board of trustees believe these changes are an important step in securing not just the long-term future of our schools but also a structure that is consistent with building on the improvement that we want to continue to see in our schools, matching the dedication, professionalism and commitment of our staff and the hard work of our students.
For information about the board of trustees please see the Rye Academy Trust website.