Outstanding Governance

Whether within the Foundation Board or within the Local Governing Bodies (LGB), Emmanuel Schools Foundation has a clear and shared understanding of what constitutes good and effective governance. The Foundation Schools have outstanding governance in which members of the LGB:

  • are involved in discussions about teaching and learning, asking questions that encourage reflection on how to achieve the best in every child and adult
  • have a detailed knowledge of the school and its people
  • consistently communicate high expectations and are ambitious for the school and its people
  • monitor and evaluate the school’s performance
  • systematically challenge senior leaders to consolidate strengths and improve areas for development
  • actively evaluate their own performance

If you are interested in becoming a member, trustee or governor, please complete the form below and send it back to us.

Application form to become a Member, Trustee or local governor

Governor – If you are applying to join a particular school within the Foundation.
Trustee – If you are applying to join Emmanuel Schools Foundation.

Board of Directors' Role

The Foundation Trustees sit together as the Foundation Board which has responsibility for protecting the interests and assets of each Foundation school, as well as for ensuring that the ethos and values of the Foundation are maintained.

Foundation Board is responsible for the group strategy, management and governance of the Foundation together with the financial and educational performance of the schools.

The Foundation Board are the legal governors and are accountable for all statutory functions. Many of these functions are discharged on behalf of the Foundation Board by the Executive Team.

At local level, trustees delegate governance functions to a LGB at each school. Trustees have complete discretion over what is delegated to each LGB. They may, for example, decide to delegate all functions to academies in the chain that are performing well and only a few to those academies that need greater support.

It is important to note that local governors are not trustees of a school, unless they also sit on the Foundation Board. The Board of Directors details can be found under:

About Us – Who are we?

ESF Declarations

ESF Board Attendance

ESF Structure Chart

Diversity of our local governance boards and the Board of Trustees continues to be a key focus, and the current diversity indicators can be found HERE.

The Board has implemented the following committees:

CommitteeName of TrusteeResponsibilityDate of Appointment
Finance and ResourcesPeter Pickthall

Chair, Human Resources, Health & Safety

 (Bede, Emmanuel and Grace)

 Martin Oldknow

Trustee/Chair of Audit and Risk, H&S Link Trustee and LAC/SEND.

 Stewart McKinlay 27/03/2019
Education, Standards and PerformanceHelen McEvoyChair30/11/2021
 Mark Pike  16/06/2017
RemunerationPeter Pickthall 11/10/2018
 Mark Pike 16/06/2017
  Stewart McKinlay  27/03/2019
 Audit and Risk Committee Martin OldknowChair15/10/2021
 Peter Pickthall 11/10/2018


Committee attendance and declarations of interest:

Finance and Resources Declarations

ESF Finance and Resources Attendance

ESF Education Standards and Performance Declarations

ESF Education Standards and Performance Attendance

Remuneration Committee Declarations

ESF Remuneration Committee Attendance

ESF Audit and Risk Declarations

ESF Audit and Risk Attendance

The terms of reference are as follows:

Finance and Resources – Terms of Reference

Education, Standards and Performance Committee – Terms of Reference

Remuneration Committee – Terms of Reference

Audit and Risk Committee – Terms of Reference

Local school links for each of our schools:

Bede Academy Governance

Christ’s College Governance

Emmanuel College Governance

Grace College Governance 

The King’s Academy Governance

Trinity Academy Governance

The duty of each Committee is to ensure that ESF discharges its responsibilities for educational improvement in providing excellent education both in terms of academic attainment and character development, consistent with the ethos and values of ESF, so that all students are able to progress, achieve and to go on to succeed in life.

LGB Governors' Role

Each school has its own Local Governing Body (LGB) with nominated links to the Trustee Board. 

The constitution of an LGB is set out in the Articles of Association for the Trust. The LGBs act as committees of the Trustee Board. Governors, although not themselves Trustees, act at the local level on behalf of Board with delegated responsibilities.

The Trustee Board has complete discretion regarding the scope of delegated responsibilities which they define in the Scheme of Delegation. The Board remains legally responsible and accountable for all statutory functions, however, and works closely with the Executive Team and individual LGBs to assess the progress of each school and to ensure they are satisfied that individual LGBs can successfully carry out the responsibilities delegated to them.

The Trustee Board maintains a direct link to each LGB within the Trust through a nominated Trustee link. LGBs are able to raise issues they feel need to be escalated to the Trustee Board through this direct consultation.

The LGB will usually meet twice a term focussing appropriately on Curriculum and Standards, and Finance and Resources. It may form committees as required and, be responsible for reviewing its own effectiveness against the delegated responsibilities. An annual plan for LGB activities will be created to ensure that all areas of delegated responsibility are addressed by the LGB during an academic year.

More broadly, there is also a standard Terms of Reference document outlining the constitution and authority of individual LGBs across the Trust.

Scheme of Delegation

Designated roles

Some Governors will be given particular roles within the LGB. Most commonly these relate to Safeguarding, Health and Safety, Special Educational Needs, Early Years Foundation Stage (where applicable), Educational Performance (including specific cohorts, such as Pupil Premium, SEN, male/female) and Sixth Form. Governors might also be asked to work in specific key subject areas within their school. Governors will be given training in these roles and are supported by the LGB Chair and Trust Governance service. 


The Role of a Local Governing Body

The role of the LGB is a strategic one. It is responsible for promoting high standards and educational achievement. The school is accountable to the Executive and to Trustees and, the LGB should work to ensure that the school meets the requirements of the Trustee Board within its areas of delegated responsibility.

Working in partnership with the Principal, the Senior Leadership Team and executives from the Trust, the LGB sets the medium-term (3 or 5 years) strategic plan for the school and agrees the school’s development/improvement strategy. It will also monitor standards, set targets and ensure that budgets are allocated effectively and that staffing structures are adequate for the school.

The LGB monitors the performance and progress of the school against the plan and targets, responds to school inspections, ensures the involvement of parents through appropriate consultation and dissemination of information and also promotes the school within the local community. The LGB makes sure that the values of the school and the ethos and core values of the Trust are upheld and are sufficiently reflected in the school’s long term development plans; it builds strategies around continuous improvement and raising standards for all students, takes a strategic overview of staffing structures and the development of staff, ensures best value is being achieved and, in partnership with the Trust Finance Department, makes certain that the school has robust procurement and financial systems.

The LGB will have an overview of the curriculum and the extra-curricular provision, ensuring they meet the needs of all students, and will have designated Governors to oversee Safeguarding, Health and Safety and Special Educational Needs. The LGB also has a responsibility to monitor the quality and effectiveness of the teaching staff.

The LGB will have a clear commitment to challenge effectively where necessary.

The LGB will meet at least once a term (this is a legal requirement for academies), form committees as required, and be responsible for reviewing its own effectiveness. An annual plan for LGB activities will be created to ensure that all areas of delegated responsibility are covered by the LGB during each academic year.

Committees and working groups may be set up to carry out some of the business of an LGB. Committees are commonly set up for Education, Welfare, Health and Safety, Safeguarding, and Finance. Committees may also be set up to hear disciplinary and grievance procedures for staff, as well as capability procedures for under-performance. This will be done in line with Trust policies and procedures and supported by the Trust HR for individual schools.

The LGB will maintain a good working relationship with key community leaders. The school is a vital part of the community and Governors should ensure that their particular school is at the heart of its community, is well represented and promotes community cohesion.

The LGB is responsible for its own self-review and should actively seek to continuously develop its members, providing access to training and support where appropriate.


The Role of the Chair of a Local Governing Body

The Chair of the LGB is responsible for the oversight of all the work of the Governing Body; their attendance at meetings is crucial. The Chair should be in attendance at all full meetings of the LGB; however, in their absence the Vice-Chair would take their place. Their attendance at committee meetings will depend upon the membership of specific committees.

It is critical that Chairs provide support to individual LGB members. New LGB members will take time to settle into the role and should be supported by a robust induction process. Experienced LGB members will be able to work more independently but will still require support and challenge, where appropriate, from the Chair.

The Chair is appointed, and may be removed, by the Trust Board.

The Chair of the LGB will be accountable to the Chair of the Trust Board for the work of the LGB in supporting each individual school. The Executive Team will use their relationship with the Chair of the LGB to challenge the work of the Trust in providing support to the school, ensuring there is accountability for the work of the Trust support services.

Each school will have its own cycle of full LGB meetings and committee meetings (if any) but there are a few key strategic meetings with the representatives of the Board of the Trust as follows:


Meetings with Executive Team

The Executive Team regularly meets the Principals to:

review performance over the previous year

agree the key performance indicators (KPIs) for the school for the coming year

discuss any additional areas identified by the LGB or the school

review the Principal’s performance and complete the appraisal process

agree the performance objectives for the Principal for the forthcoming year

outline progress towards the agreed KPIs, annual school improvement plans and five-year plans

review the Principal’s performance to date in relation to the appraisal objectives agreed

discuss any additional areas identified by the LGB or the school

The Role of a Trust Governor

A Trust Governor will have a wholehearted commitment to the education of children and young people, to the values and ethos of the Trust and to the school. The most important focus for a Governor is the needs of children and their education. Governors should have a detailed knowledge of the schools in order to fulfil the role of providing strategic support and challenge. 

Back To Top