This section will tell you how the school’s governance is structured, who the Members and Trustees of the Academy Trust are, how they are appointed and elected, what they do, what their legal duties are and how you can contact them or seek to get involved as a Trustee yourself.
An Academy Trust’s governance structure is there to provide oversight of the management and operation of the school. The Trustees help the school take a strategic view of its activities and bring experience and expertise from other walks of life into the school.
How is the governance of the Academy Trust structured?
Beaumont School is an Academy, which is a company limited by guarantee and registered in the UK with company number 8104190. There are two tiers of governance:
Members of the Academy Trust
The Members oversee governance of the Academy Trust. They have rights and powers under company law similar to those of shareholders in a company limited by shares. Members of the Academy Trust, however, do not have rights of ownership in the company like shareholders because the profits of the company cannot be distributed to them. However, the Members can control changes in the constitution (subject to DfE approval) and other fundamental decisions relating to the Academy Trust, as well as approving the financial statements and the appointment of the external auditor. Members also have rights to appoint and remove Trustees.
The Trustees of the Academy Trust
The Trustees are responsible for the strategic direction of the school and the oversight of its day-to-day management – a role which is delegated to them by the Members. Trustees have the same legal duties and responsibilities as company directors, and also duties under charity law as charitable trustees. The Board of Trustees meets regularly to receive reports from the school and exercise independent oversight of its activities.
All Members and Trustees are required to be individuals who have not been disqualified from acting as directors.
The Memorandum of Association for Beaumont School can be found at this link. The Memorandum is the document that originally set up the Academy Trust company and the Articles of Association set out how the Academy Trust company is run, governed and owned, which can be found here.
What does the Board of Trustees do?
The Board of Trustees does not run the school. That is the job of the Headteacher and the Leadership Team. Rather, the Trustees provide independent oversight of the school and how it is run. The school is required to report to the Trustees on various aspects of management and planning and, by acting as ‘critical friends’, the Trustees can give the school an invaluable sounding board.
Some aspects of the Trustees’ role in the school are laid down by law. For example, the Trustees are required to approve the school budget, as well as the school’s targets for progress and attainment in GCSE and other public exams. In addition, if the school decides to exclude a student permanently, that decision has to be reviewed by an independent panel of Trustees.
Major strategic decisions of the school also have to be approved by the Trustees. Recent examples at Beaumont have been the decisions to convert to Academy Status and to increase the school’s PAN from September 2018, as well as the 2021 restructuring of governance at Beaumont, in line with DfE requirements.
Such decisions often start with a recommendation from the Headteacher and are then examined in detail by the Trustees prior to a final decision. In some cases, as with the conversion to Academy status in July 2012 and the decision to increase the Pupil Admission Number (taken in November 2016), the Trustees consulted parents, staff, students and other stakeholders as part of the decision-making process.
What sort of people are Trustees and Members of the Academy Trust?
The Trustees are all volunteers and the role is part-time. Most Trustees have full-time jobs elsewhere. One of the major benefits of the Board of Trustees is that the Trustees are all able to bring experience and expertise from vastly different walks of life to bear on their work with the school. This can help the school take a more creative and strategic approach to management, problem-solving and long-term strategic planning.
The current Board of Trustees includes Trustees with experience in accountancy, education, engineering, law, science, human resources, management, financial services and business systems.
The Members of the Academy Trust are also volunteers. They have been appointed for their knowledge of education and management, and their connection with education. Many of them have pre-existing links with the school or education in Hertfordshire and have an important understanding of the school’s ethos.
According to a Government publication, more people in the UK today come forward to be school governors than for any other volunteer activity.
View the biographies of the Members and Trustees here.
How are the Trustees elected or appointed?
There are a number of different routes onto the Board of Trustees. At Beaumont, the Board of Trustees is made up of:
- Up to six Trustees appointed by the Members of the Academy Trust;
- A minimum of two Parent Trustees, elected by the parent body;
- The Headteacher; and
- Any Trustee co-opted onto the Board of Trustees (by the non-co-opted Trustees).
In addition to the Trustees listed above, members of the Leadership Team at the school, attend meetings of the Board of Trustees and its sub-committees. The Board of Trustees also regularly invites students to attend meetings, enabling the students’ voice to be heard loud and clear at Trustees’ meetings.
It is important to note that, although Trustees are elected and appointed in a variety of different ways, once they have joined the Board of Trustees, they are all equal. They are all free to involve themselves in any aspect of the Board of Trustees’ work, regardless of how they became Trustees. Moreover, they do not represent their particular ‘constituency’. The Parent Trustees, for example, have no particular role to represent the parents. Rather, it is the Board of Trustees as a whole which reports to the parent body, and all Trustees must act in the objective best interests of the school.
All Trustees (except the Headteacher, whose position is ex officio) serve a four-year term, at the end of which they may stand for re-election or re-appointment. There is no limit to the number of terms a Trustee may serve. When a Parent Trustee’s term ends, an announcement is made about an election and all parents or carers of students at the school are eligible to stand.
How is the work of the Members and Trustees organised?
The full Board of Trustees meets five times in each academic year. Much of the ‘leg-work’ of the Trustees is carried out by its two principal committees. These are:
- Resources; and
- Community, Teaching and Learning.
The Board of Trustees also forms working parties to consider specific issues, where necessary.
The detail of the work that is carried out by the committees is set out in formal terms of reference which are approved by the Board of Trustees each year. A copy of the current terms of reference can be found here.
Minutes of the Board of Trustees are made available once they have been approved. Click here to access the minutes.
The Members meet for a General Meeting at least once a year. At that meeting, they approve the school’s financial statements and the appointment of its auditors, as well as discussing any other strategic business. Click here to access the minutes of Members’ meetings.
The Resources Committee
The Resources Committee focuses on Beaumont’s budget, staffing of the school, school buildings and plans for the future. The Committee looks at both the maintenance of the existing buildings and seeks to develop plans to improve those facilities. It also oversees health and safety.
A key current focus for the Resources Committee is fundraising and the development of the school’s facilities: Trustees have worked closely with the school on the FAB development work (2015-16), the new Science buildings (2019-2020) and plans for a new School Hall have recently received planning permission.
The Resources Committee also considers the wellbeing and workload of staff at every meeting.
The Community, Teaching and Learning (CTL) Committee
The CTL Committee reviews the development and delivery of the curriculum at Beaumont. It advises on specialist school status and monitors the quality of teaching and learning at the school as well as progress with the CTL aspects of the Plan for School Improvement.
The Board of Trustees has a specific role in relation to public examinations. It conducts a thorough review of the school’s performance in public examinations each year. It then recommends the targets for performance in future years against which the school is measured. Related to this, the Committee reviews the various exam options available to students: GCSEs, BTECs, and A levels. More widely, it is interested in exploring ways to enhance the personal thinking and learning skills of all students at Beaumont (through programmes such as Beaumont Skills for Success) to enhance their educational and academic development during their time at the school.
The Committee also has a wide-ranging role to look at the links between Beaumont and the local St Albans community. The Committee focuses on communication within the school community – between students, their families and staff – and on the health and well-being of students. Its remit includes monitoring the support available for disadvantaged students with special educational needs and those eligible for pupil premium support; and the impact of that support.
As well as the two main committees above, there are a number of other working parties, groups, or panels that meet on an occasional basis (for example: the Admissions Group; the Appointments Panel; the Pay Group (which oversees appraisals and staff pay); and the Disciplinary Panel).
Reports about the governance at Beaumont, both that of the Board of Trustees and the two committees, will appear in each edition of the school’s newsletter, Beaumont Life. These will provide updates on the current issues being discussed.
Contacting the Trustees
You may contact the Trustees and the Chair of Trustees via the school office on 01727 854726 or at firstname.lastname@example.org Please note that a family wishing to raise any issue about their child at the school should, in the first instance, contact their child’s Form Tutor.
We are proactive in considering the additional expertise we need to attract to the Board of Trustees. We will always need high calibre Trustees to develop even further the excellence of Beaumont School. So, if you would like to help us or know of someone in the community who may be interested, we would be very happy to hear from you. Please send details of background and skills, in writing, to the Chair of Trustees at Beaumont School.