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Changes to our governance structures

Friday 8 June 2018

Dear Governors,
 
We are writing with some important news to inform you of the planned changes to our governance structure.
 
Reasons for change
The Trustees have decided to rethink the role of the governing bodies in order to ensure they provide the level of scrutiny and challenge needed to ensure we are providing the best possible education for our pupils
 
The last few years have seen both Ofsted and the DfE place increasing expectations on the governor role which can be very demanding in terms of both time and commitment; expectations experienced first-hand by the Trustees who formed the temporary Rapid Improvement Board to oversee Cuckoo Hall Academy. Additionally, both the DfE and Ofsted have been supportive of our new governance approach.
 
Therefore, the Trustees have decided to convert our local governing bodies to ‘Academy Advisory Boards’. This is to provide a clear distinction between the performance of an academy at the local level (i.e. scrutiny with regard to teaching, learning and outcomes as well as greater parental and community engagement) and the operational decisions overseen by the CHAT Board of Trustees (i.e. budget, structure, resources and staffing).
 
How the advisory boards will work
For full details of roles and responsibilities, please see the attached draft ‘Academy advisory board terms of reference’, however I would like to draw your attention to the most significant changes.
 
Each advisory board will consist of: -
 
•        3 x Education specialist advisors (appointed by the Trustees and who will lead on the approach to termly scrutiny). The advisors will be ex-head teachers or lead education professionals with a deep understanding of Ofsted and DfE requirements to help ensure our schools are making the necessary improvements
•        3 x parent governors and 2 x co-opted governors (elected or appointed as appropriate and to lead on issues including parental and community engagement)
•        Other than the head teacher, the role of ‘staff governor’ will no longer exist due mainly to the widely recognised difficulties of staff being able to provide objective challenge and scrutiny when they are line managed by the head teacher.
 
The advisors will lead on and chair a termly education scrutiny, which will involve a day spent in school analysing the data, reviewing and moderating our assessments and identifying gaps in performance and attainment. We are establishing a new and enhanced role for our parent and co-opted governors in order to help us drive forward better communication, parental engagement and outreach, and building stronger community links.  Co-opted governors will also lead on the vital role of resolving parental complaints and exclusion panels.
We also want the parent and co-opted governors to ensure the schools provide the best possible enrichment opportunities through school trips (e.g. galleries, museums, zoos, arts events) and a wide range of extra-curricular activities. In addition, they will be involved in the key task of shaping part of the new education strategy which will underpin the journey of every pupil or student at CHAT.  
 
Feedback, commitment and next steps
We fully respect and are thankful for the dedication and support provided by our current governors. We plan to have the new structure in place ready for the autumn meeting cycle and are happy to respond to any comments or questions you may have at this stage.
 
Under the new structure we will need to review the following:
 
•         Whether current governors wish to continue; and
•         If they want to continue, we will meet with them to discuss the new role and requirements in more detail
 
There is an additional parent governor role allocated to each academy and these positions will be open to elections.
 
We would also be extremely grateful if you could email us your intentions with regard to continued participation in this new structure by the end of Friday 22nd June.
 
Once again thank you for your support. I am sure under the new structure we will continue to take the schools forward for the benefit of the children and the success of our schools.
 
Marino Charalambous
Chief Executive Officer
Cuckoo Hall Academies Trust

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