Governance in an academy plays a major role in the academy’s overall success and efficiency. It is up to the academy trustees to ensure that best governance is respected at all times. Good governance generally results in all involved parties clearly understanding the vision of the academy as well as the detail of its objectives. This platform of understanding allows for efficient and effective decision-making, as well as an increased opportunity for outstanding performance.
The Department for Education provides full and detailed information on best governance on their website, but here’s a broad outline of the major points to be considered:
Get the team right
Because the governing body is responsible for the direction and strategy of the academy it’s essential that the team is the right size and is equipped with all the right skills to make sure this important job is done in the best possible way. Prior to accepting any appointment, all team members need to be made aware of the current situation in the academy as well as its goals for the future. Once it has been established that a new member should, and wants to join the team, it’s important to make sure they are appropriately inducted and trained for their new role.
Make sure team members understand their role
Making sure that all trustees understand what is expected of them makes for more harmonious and more effective management of the academy. With this in mind it is essential that team members understand the commitment they are making and what is expected of them. It is best that this information is clearly documented and regularly monitored.
Set clear goals
As with any successful business or charity, it is essential that the vision for the academy is clearly stated and understood by everyone who plays a part in its management and running. Setting, understanding and monitoring goals is an essential part of the successful management of the school and should cover every detail, from high level mission statements, right down to complaints and grievance procedures.
Work objectively and with integrity
Members of the team should act at all times within the agreed objectives, and without any interference of personal goals or pursuits. The academy’s governing document plays an important role in ensuring objectivity and integrity and should as a result, be consulted by all team members on a regular basis. Any individual on the team who has personal interests outside of the academy which could impact on their role, should register their interests in order to avoid any possibility of misunderstanding or inadvertent wrongful acts.
Maintain open communication and transparency
The governing board of the academy should make sure that all stakeholders are informed about objectives and performance and have the opportunity to comment.
Run a tight financial ship
Financial planning and regular financial performance monitoring are an essential part of best governance of any academy. As a minimum, the trustees must lay out clearly the financial objectives for the academy as well as providing detailed projections and actual performance reports to all involved parties. Particular attention should be paid to risk management.
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