The governance of a multi-academy trust differs from those of maintained schools. The White Horse Federation (TWHF) believes that placing statutory responsibilities firmly at its centre, in the remit of the trustee board, allows the local board of governance (LBG) to focus on providing support, overcoming challenges in the delivery of educational excellence, and achieving outstanding outcomes for all pupils.
There are direct channels of communication between the principal and the LBG chair and central services. The clerk to the trustee board will hold contact details for all members of LBGs within TWHF. However, routine communication for day-to-day school business should come from the chair of that LBG, managed by the school or through an LBG clerk, if such a position is deemed necessary.
The principal and the chair of the LBG are responsible for ensuring the quality and timely distribution of all material needed to keep LBG members well-informed about the school and TWHF.The principal and the chair are also responsible for ensuring the views of the LBG are well communicated to the trustee board. This can be done via the elected chair’s representative on the trustee board. Senior executives from TWHF will be nominated by the CEO to sit on an LBG. Trustees reserve the right to attend any LBG meeting.
The White Horse Federation has a very clear and shared understanding of what constitutes good and effective governance. Schools within TWHF will be judged to have outstanding governance when members of the LBG:
- Talk about teaching and learning.
- Know a great deal about the school and its community.
- Are ambitious for the school and its community.
- Ask questions which make colleagues reflect, and that these discussions lead to delivering the very best outcomes for every child and adult within the school community.
- Maintain strong and effective relationships within TWHF.
In order for the shared model of governance to be effective for TWHF and the schools, it is essential that there is effective communication between the trustee board, the LBGs, chairs groups, principals, the central team, and the executive leadership team.
Chair — Paul Berry (Local Governor)
Having moved into the area in the past few years, I decided to become a governor in 2015. My wife and most of her family attended the school when they were children. As such, I feel a strong connection to both the school and the community.
I work for a large multi-national IT company and I specifically focus on schools. My days are spent talking to school leaders, teachers, and students, getting to know their daily challenges and coming up with a way in which IT can help. Having some education context certainly comes in handy in my role as school governor!
I also sit on the data group and resources committee. In my spare time, I enjoy spending time with my family, watching a variety of sports, and getting as involved in school life as I can.
Rev Shona Hoad (Foundation Governor)
I moved to Shaw in 2014 when I took up my appointment here as Vicar of Christ Church, Shaw and Whitley. I have previously served as governor at an outstanding primary school in Surrey and have four older children who all attended our then local primary school. I firmly believe that every child should be given the opportunity to grow and develop in a loving and forgiving environment where all have the potential to reach for the very best, so it is very exciting to be part of the Shaw School community which offers just that to children.
In my role as Vicar, I am also privileged to come in on a regular basis for collective worship, as well as being with the whole school in church for special services.
Clive Briggs (Local Governor and Safeguarding Governor)
I was appointed a governor at the end of the 2015 summer term and have recently taken on the role of safeguarding governor. I am married to Dianne and we have lived in Shaw since 1980. Our two sons attended Shaw School between 1980 and 1990. Since retiring, I have been active in several village organisations, including CONNECT magazine, Shaw Village Hall, the Friendship Club, and Christ Church.
I am a member of Lincolns Inn bar, and before retiring worked for a number of organisations specialising in insurance and employee benefits law.
Paul Millard (Parent Governor)
I have lived in Melksham most of my life and became a parent governor in December 2015. I am married and have three sons, two of whom attend Shaw Primary School - and love it.
I work for a nationwide company and am responsible for software development and service delivery into the public and private sector. My job requires me to manage financial matters closely, which is a useful skill to have being a member of the Resources Committee.
In my spare time, I enjoy family life, whether it be watching my boys playing sports for local clubs, helping them with learning activities, or spending time with my wife enjoying movies. I am very proud to have an active role in helping our school continue to thrive and develop exceptional children.
Dominic Szanto (Local Governor)
I have lived in Shaw and Whitley for 1 years with my wife, a primary teacher in Wiltshire, and have had a daughter at Shaw School since 2012. I work in corporate finance for an international consultancy and focus on raising money for the construction of renewable energy projects.
I have been a local governor at Shaw since 2017. I believe that every child in our community deserves an education that allows them to fulfil their potential and am passionate about ensuring fairness in society. Away from work, my interests are politics, football, and travelling. I am also a keen musician whose enthusiasm is unencumbered by talent.
Russel Evans (Local Governor)
I have lived within Shaw and Whitley for the past 25 years with my family. My wife, Susan, is currently Churchwarden for Christ Church Shaw and my three children, all of whom attended Shaw School, live close by. I consider myself to be an embedded and active participant within the community.
Professionally, I retired from the Metropolitan Police Service in 2009 having enjoyed a 32-year career. A career detective, I retired holding the rank of Detective Superintendent. My roles within the police service involved me working on the Anti-Terrorist Branch, the Anti-Corruption Branch, Homicide, International & Organised Crime, and Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary.
In retirement, I also work for the charity Samaritans as well as perusing hobbies involving golf, bowls, woodworking, and travel.
Jo Bishop (Local Governor)
I am the manager at Shaw and Whitley Pre School and have worked at the setting for more than 16 years. I love having the opportunity to help children to develop their confidence and independence before they leave to go to school. I am also the SENCO in the setting.
I am married and have three children, ranging from 14 to 19 years old. I have lived in Bath for three years and previously lived in Whitley for 14 years.
In my spare time, I enjoy watching rugby and cricket. I am a welfare officer at Corsham Cricket Club. I also enjoy listening to music, watching films, and taking my dogs out for walks.
Gary Bennett (Parent Governor)
Having moved to Melksham in 2010 with my wife, our eldest daughter has attended Shaw School since 2012. I have a firm belief that all children deserve the best start in life through school and parental support, and that Shaw School provides the right educational setting and opportunities for our daughter and other children.
My day job is as an Information Assurance Consultant with a FTSE 250 company with a very keen eye on data protection matters. This involves understanding new situations and regularly meeting new challenges.
In our spare time, we enjoy weekend breaks as a family and finding time for me to do the obligatory DIY jobs.
Simon White (Headteacher)
I am now in my 28th year of teaching, 19 of them as headteacher. I have worked in eight schools across four local authorities and have taught all year groups, although I have specialised in KS1 for most of my career.
The headship of Shaw School has given me the opportunity to really embed the things which I feel are vital in an excellent primary education. Children should truly be at the heart of the school. They should be loved and cared for and supported to constantly improve on their personal best. A great education educates the whole person, and our focus on spiritual, moral, and social learning helps to make Shaw School the special place which it undoubtedly is.
Out of school, my wonderful family keeps me busy. My wife is also a teacher, my eldest son is studying for a master’s in physics at Kings College London, and my youngest is in his second year of an English and drama degree at Cardiff Met. When time and money allows, I love to travel and have a long bucket list of places I want to visit.
Kathryn Clark (Staff Governor)
I have been teaching at Shaw for 15 years now. I currently teach in year 1 and am also the Inclusion Manager and RE Coordinator. I have three boys, two of which are now at secondary school but used to attend Shaw, while the youngest is still at Shaw.
I have been staff governor for two years now and enjoy the opportunity to be part of this team of parents, staff, and the community who have the school at the heart of their discussions.
I enjoy spending time with friends and family, reading, holidays, and chocolate!
John Carter (Clerk to Governors)
I am retired, having worked most of my career in local government, although I do still occasionally work as and when required. I was appointed Clerk to the Governors in November 2007 and, as well as being Clerk, I do enjoy reading with the children in school and accompanying them on school trips. Seven of my grandchildren have, are, or hopefully will, be attending Shaw School.
In my spare time, I enjoy being with my family and following most sports. I play golf and skittles regularly, but with varying degrees of success.
The White Horse Federation Local Board of Governance
Each school has its own local governing body (LGB). The chair of each LGB will also sit on a collective group of similar chairs, from which one representative will be elected and then co-opted onto the executive board. This process will be repeated every two years, thus affording new chairs the opportunity to be similarly elected.
TWHF executive board has clearly identified the areas of responsibility that they delegate to the LGBs. Although not in any way legally responsible, and not itself accountable for the statutory functions, the LGB has an important role to play in assisting the school to operate effectively in line with the wishes of TWHF executive board as communicated to the LGB.
To learn more, visit The White Horse Federation website.