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Governor - Academy or Non-Academy?

Discussion in 'Governors' started by PH12, Feb 15, 2018.

  1. PH12

    PH12 New commenter

    I have been interested in becoming a governor for a number of years and my current career finally allows me the time to do it. However, I have some confusion as to the differences between the role in an academy and non-academy.

    I have had a meeting at an academy (MAT) in the past week and the structure was that there are trustees and members. Moving forward they want to move to having directors, trustees and governors. The chair is appointed by the sponsor and would not necessarily come from (and has not previously) the current members. I was left with the impression that the role of the governors/members would be diluted across the three tiers, however, maybe someone could help me get my head around it.

    I wanted to be in a position where the governing body had the freedom to make the decisions required to push a school forward or to sustain its fantastic record. However, I get the impression that in an academy that would not be the case. Maybe i'm wrong and I would be grateful if anyone could clarify things.
  2. IndigoandViolet

    IndigoandViolet New commenter

    A rather dry but comprehensive summary of the differences can be found here: http://www.nga.org.uk/thenga/media/NGA-Image-Library/Guidance/NGA-Statutory-Framework-final.pdf

    Basically if you are going on the board of trustees of a single academy the role is very similar in function (although legally different) to a classic Governing Body. If you are going on the board of a MAT or the Local Governing Body of a school in a MAT then how much responsibility you have will depend on their local arrangements. I am assuming they are recruiting you as a Trustee rather than a Member? There used to be overlap but my understanding is now that they are encouraged to be separate, with Trustees having more day-to-day input than Members, but Members have ultimate responsibility. Be aware that if you do choose to become a Trustee you will have to register with Companies House and there are some legal implications.

    I've only ever been a governor in the maintained sector so I can't comment personally on governance in academies. I know some people who've found it rewarding and others who have been frustrated that the larger scope of the job in a MAT means they get less opportunity to feel involved in one particular school.

    Hope that helps,
  3. PH12

    PH12 New commenter

    Thanks IndigoandViolet

    They have advised that my role would be that of member, with trustees 'above' the members and then directors sat 'above' them. I'm not really sure what my role would be in reality and an exploratory conversation with the head didn't give me any more information.
  4. IndigoandViolet

    IndigoandViolet New commenter

    Do they mean academy member or member of the governing body? It seems unusual to describe the members as below the trustees: they have less hands-on involvement but are technically above the trustees in that they oversee them and have the power to appoint/remove them. Members of the local governing body would definitely be beneath the trustees.

    Have a google of "Academy members and trustees" - there are a few useful documents that pop-up.

    Assuming it's a formal member they are looking for it doesn't sound like a good fit - members are normally quite hands-off and it sounds like you'd like to be quite involved. I'm sure you'll find a good fit soon - many schools are struggling to find good governors.
  5. kazzy73

    kazzy73 New commenter

    I agree, you definitely sound more hands on.

    As an Academy and in a MAT, we have members who are really silent unless there is an AGM. We then have Board of Trustees, Directors underneath these then we have a Regional Standards Council then members of the LAB as we call ours. Local Academy/Advisory Board. I'm chair of the LAB and I was appointed by the Directors when the school converted to an Academy. I have since become chair of the Regional Standards Council and a trustee on the board. But our MAT is changing expanding and so boards and committees are changing to adapt to regions rather than whole except when there is a Trustee Board meeting.

    There are many schools out there looking for hands on governors. I have been praised by Ofsted for knowing my school so well due to being hands on but strategically not operationally. Although I do help out on trips out and other events within.

    Good luck.

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