Bellevue Place Education Trust (BPET) is overseen by a Board of Trustees, known as the BPET Board. The trustees are highly experienced professionals, including education professionals, working alongside trustees appointed following a skills-based assessment.
The Board is supported by the BPET Central 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 in Governance, Educational, Finance and Operational support. The Central Team is led by the Chief Executive.
Overview of the BPET Governance Structure
As the maintaining authority of seven Free Schools, the BPET Board are accountable to the Secretary of State for Education – as 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 sets 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 the Secretary of State for Education. Each school sponsored by BPET has its own Supplementary Funding Agreement, which includes duties for the local community the school serves.
BPET has three main layers of governance, with the appointment of members, trustees and local advisers. The purpose for the first 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.
- Local adviser – who collectively are the local governance arrangement for each school (as the Local Advisory Board for the school). They are tasked with setting the vision, ethos and strategic direction for the school, within the overall vision of the Trust; holding the Headteacher and senior leadership team to account for the educational performance of the school, its pupils and the performance management of staff; and ensuring investment in educational improvement is value for money and having the desired impact.
As the accountable body for the multi-academy trust, the BPET Board are the responsible body for the activity of BPET and has the responsibility to:
- Establish the core education vision
- Hold Headteachers and LABs to account for the standards of attainment and broader achievement of pupils, the quality of teaching and learning, the behaviour and safety of pupils, the leadership and management of the school, the pedagogy, curriculum and learning environment for the children
- Arrange for educational audits to evaluate performance regularly with cognisance of the latest OfSTED guidance and to make recommendations to improve effectiveness
- Set school targets (with input from LAB)
- Monitor and manage the financial and administrative policies (HR, ICT)
- Budgeting and reporting procedures
- Statutory compliance work
- Staff contracts and HR policies
- IT network strategy
- Major procurement policies
- Headteacher recruitment and appointment
- Evaluation of Headteacher performance (with input from LAB Chair)
- Administrative and support services as required
- Other educational programmes including but not limited to: leadership training, extended school programme.
The BPET Board has delegated a number of responsibilities to the Chief Executive (Accounting Officer), Local Advisory Board and Headteacher of each school, which is set out in the BPET Scheme of Delegation.
The BPET Board meets 6 times a year and has the following committees:
- Finance, Risk & Audit Committee – David Thomas (Chair), Simon Rule, Vicky Griffiths and Dina Choudhury
- Remuneration Committee – Vicky Griffiths (Chair), Claire Delaney, David Thomas and Simon Rule
Financial scrutiny is through an external auditor, appointed by trustees and an internal audit process carried out by a separate audit provider, that reports to the Finance, Audit & Risk Committee.
One Board meeting a year is a strategic planning session, where the BPET 3 Year Strategic Plan (2019-2022) is reviewed, assessing whether the key risks of the group have changed and assessing 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.
Following an External Governance Review by the National Governors Association (NGA) in 2017, the trustees are pleased with its key findings stating that:
- The BPET 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.
Further thought was given to how we better structure our local governance and following consultation across our schools, the BPET Board has restructured this provision. From September 2018, Local Governing Boards were reconstituted to form Local Advisory Boards (LABs).
In keeping with the BPET vision of developing autonomous schools, there is extensive local choice about the structure, size and operation of each LAB. The following decisions set the limits on this local choice:
- The LAB must operate within the BPET structure, and must remain within the overall vision, ethos and strategic direction of the Trust
- The Chair of each LAB is appointed by the BPET Board, serving at the pleasure of the BPET Board
- The Chair and Headteacher together use a skills-based approach to appointing the local advisers, each to serve for a four-year term.
- There must be a minimum of two parent advisers, but there is no maximum
- The suggested size of a LAB is 6-10
The LAB meets four times a year. Information about the structure and membership for the Local Advisory Boards for each school can be found on their website.
Below is an overview of the governance structure of the Trust:
Last updated: November 2019