The layers of governance within the trust provide accountability, oversight, support and challenge close to the point of delivery.
The structure of governance in Willows Academy Trust is set out in the diagram below:
The Willows Academy Trust Terms of Reference and the Scheme of Delegation jointly set out the structure, constitution and delegated responsibilities of the Board of Directors and Academy Governing Bodies in detail. These are reviewed and re-issued annually in the autumn term.
The Articles of Association set out the legal framework under which we operate.
The members "own" the multi-academy trust and their rights and responsibilities are set out in the Articles of Association. They are responsible for ensuring that the charitable objective is being fulfilled and they hold the directors (the trustees) to account.
In Willows Academy Trust, the members meet annually in December at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) to review the annual accounts and hold the directors to account. They are also responsible for appointing the auditors of the trust and the appointment of directors. Some decisions may be made by written agreement out-of-committee.
The directors are the trustees of the trust.
The Willows Academy Trust Board of Directors is the accountable body and is responsible for the oversight of all activities within the multi-academy trust. It is responsible for the three core governance functions in relation to the trust, making key decisions and conducting the business of the trust. It must ensure compliance with charity law, company law, and the trust's funding agreement. Its responsibilities are set out in the Articles of Association and the Scheme of Delegation.
In accordance with the Scheme of Delegation, the directors delegate responsibilities to:
- the Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
- the Chief Financial Officer (CFO)
- the Finance, Audit & Risk Committee
- the Academy Governing Bodies (AGBs) of each school
- the headteachers
In Willows Academy Trust, the directors meet six times throughout the year as a minimum. Some decisions may be made by written agreement out-of-committee. The Finance, Audit & Risk Committee also meets 6 times per year and focuses on oversight of financial management, risk management and the implementation of effective internal and external audit processes and arrangements.
Each school has an Academy Governing Body which is a committee of the WAT Board of Directors and has been delegated specific functions and responsibilities in accordance with the WAT Scheme of Delegation.
The governors on each Academy Governing Body are responsible for the three core governance functions (as set out above) in relation to their school.
Each Academy Governing Body operates in accordance with the WAT Terms of Reference. The Academy Governing Bodies may delegate specific functions and responsibilities to permanent and/or ad-hoc committees in accordance with their constitution.
Governors/directors may have specific link roles and responsibilities.
The chief executive officer (CEO) has overall responsibility for the operation of Willows Academy Trust and is the accounting officer for the trust.
The chief financial officer (CFO) has responsibility for the financial management of the trust.
The Data Protection Officer (DPO) has responsibility for overseeing compliance with Data Protection legislation across the trust.
Clerk to the WAT Board of Directors
The clerk to the WAT Board of Directors is responsible for clerical support to the members and directors including drafting agendas, producing minutes, advising on legislation and ensuring compliance. The clerk also provides administrative support in drafting and maintaining WAT policies and documents.
The Executive Team is made up of the founding headteachers of Willows Academy Trust. They provide support to the CEO in identifying and implementing trust improvement strategies.
Each school has a headteacher who is the leader of the school and has responsibility for the strategic vision and values of the school, effective financial and staff management, and the educational outcomes for pupils in the school.