Bellevue Place Education Trust (BPET) is overseen by a Board of Trustees (also known as the BPET Board). The Trustees are highly experienced professionals and include the founding members’ companies (two Trustees from each), who are associate education professionals, both in terms of teaching and leadership practitioners, inspectors and school improvement specialists – working alongside independent Trustees and two parent trustees.
The Board is supported by an Executive Team, who deliver the strategic aims of the Board and ensure the vision and ethos of the Trust is met on a day-to-day basis, along with providing support for the schools, mainly in Governance, Educational, Finance and Operational support.
Overview of the BPET Governance Structure
As the sponsor of seven Free Schools, the BPET Board are accountable to the Secretary of State for Education – a network of schools under one legal body. BPET is also known as a Multi-Academy Trust (MAT).
BPET is a company limited by guarantee, overseen by the Department for Education (rather than the Charity Commission). The Articles of Association set out the purpose of Bellevue Place Education Trust. The founding members of the Trust signed the Memorandum of Association on incorporation.
BPET’s responsibilities are set out in the Master Funding Agreement, which is a contract between BPET and Secretary of State for Education. Each school sponsored by BPET has its own Supplementary Funding Agreement.
Academy Trusts have two higher layers of governance, with members and trustees. The purpose for these two roles are taken from the DfE Governance Handbook, below:
• Members – who have ultimate responsibility for the trust achieving its charitable objectives. They sign off the articles of association and have power to appoint and remove the trustees.
• Trustees – who collectively as the board of trustees deliver the three core functions common to school governance. The trustees must also ensure compliance with company and charity law and with the trust’s funding agreement with the Secretary of State
The Board of Trustees, as the responsible body for the activity of the Trust, has the responsibility to:
- Establish the core education vision
- Hold headteachers and LGBs to account for the standards of attainment and achievement of pupils, the quality of teaching and learning, the behaviour and safety of pupils, the leadership and management of the academy, the pedagogy, curriculum and learning environment for the children.
- Arrange for educational visits to evaluate performance regularly with cognisance of the latest of OfSTED guidance and to make recommendations to improve effectiveness
- Ensure schools financial stability and compliance with the Academies Financial Handbook
- Set academy targets (jointly with LGB)
- Budgeting and reporting procedures
- Statutory compliance work
- Staff contracts and HR policies
- Major procurement policies
- Headteacher recruitment, appointment and performance management
Below is an overview of the governance structure of the Trust:
The BPET Board has delegated a number of responsibilities to the Local Governing Body and Headteacher of each school, which is set out in the BPET Scheme of Delegation.
The BPET Board meets 4 times a year and has the following committees:
- Finance, Risk & Audit Committee – David Thomas (Chair), Mark Malley, Simon Rule and Vicky Griffiths
- Remuneration Committee – Vicky Griffiths (Chair), David Thomas, Simon Rule
In addition, the Board also meets annually for a Strategic Planning Session, where the BPET 2 Year Strategic Plan is reviewed along with the key strategic developments across the Trust.
The Board has adopted the BPET Board Governance Policy which sets out the terms of reference for these committees along with the rules for the Board.
External Review by the National Governors Association (NGA)
The Trust has conduct two internal reviews of its governance structure of the Trust over the past three years, to ensure it is fit for purpose and provides the appropriate structure to meet its statutory responsibilities and support all schools to provide a high quality education provision, In 2016, entering the fourth year of operation, the Trustees decided to commission an external review by the National Governors Association (NGA). For transparency, we have published the full review, which is available by clicking here
The Trustees are satisfied by the outcome of the review, with its key findings stating:
- The trust board has a clear sense of purpose, and is effectively carrying out the three core governance functions:
- It has created and communicated a compelling vision for its schools and the young people in its care which is understood and supported by the senior staff and headteachers.
- The headteachers are held to account by line management and clear performance appraisal systems: their work is also monitored by local governing bodies.
- The trustees are aware of and adept at managing the financial affairs of the Trust.
- There are many governance strengths throughout BPET as evidenced during this review, not least its self-awareness of the changing pressures and the value of external evaluation. The Trust should proceed with confidence that there is a firm foundation on which to build for the future phases.
Recommendations for improvement are also being taken forward, with the first recommendation completed. Further thought to how we better structure our local governance is being consulted and considered.
Last updated: January 2018