Academy Council Terms of Reference
The Trust’s Articles of Association provide for each Academy of the Cabot Learning Federation (CLF), to provide local governance arrangements on behalf of the Board.
Membership and Administration
Membership: Up to five Board-appointed councillors, including the Chair; an Executive Principal/Senior Principal; two parent councillors; LA nominated councillor/Community Representative; teacher councillor; support staff councillor; student advocate; Academy Principal.
Elected councillors: Self-nomination is offered to parents or carers and staff councillors. Should more nominations than positions be received, the Academy should hold an election process.
Terms of office: 4 years; or length of employment in the case of Principal and Executive Principal / Senior Principal
In attendance: The Senior Operations Manager, members of the leadership team as required, members of the Executive Team as required.
Chair: The Chair is appointed by the CLF Board.
Clerk: Each Council will appoint a clerk.
Quorum: 5 members
Attendance: Unless previously agreed with the chair, it is expected that all Councillors will attend and participate in meetings on a regular basis. The Chairs of Academy Council may consider the removal of Councillors for non-attendance over a period of 6 months, or attendance of less than 75% within a year.
Frequency of meetings: At least five times per year.
Minutes: Available to COAC and to the Board on request; published on academy website.
The Academy Council is a formal sub-committee of the CLF Board and has a range of powers delegated to it under the CLF Scheme of Delegation. It should at all times seek to ensure that, in its pursuit of outstanding governance, it is acting in a way that is consistent with the Core Purpose (HEART), Mission, Strategic Plan, policies and protocols of the CLF.
Academy Councils are expected to draw upon the professional governance work, diagnosis and analysis undertaken by the CLF Executive Team when assessing the progress of their academy. It should not seek to duplicate governance taking place elsewhere, but should focus on driving up standards and outcomes in the academy, holding leaders to account for the quality and effectiveness of the academy experience of the students under their care.
To that end Academy Councillors should:
- seek to ensure that the Principal has created a culture that enables pupils and staff to excel. In line with the Core Purpose of the CLF (HEART), the academy should be committed unwaveringly to setting high expectations for the performance and conduct of pupils and staff. Relationships between staff and pupils should be exemplary.
- focus on the degree to which the Principal and their team are uncompromising in their ambition, consistently improving outcomes for all pupils, but especially for disadvantaged pupils.
- systematically challenge senior leaders so that the effective deployment of staff and resources, including the pupil premium (as detailed on page 3 of this document), the primary PE and sport premium, Year 7 literacy and numeracy catch-up premium and special educational needs funding, secures excellent outcomes for pupils. Academy Councillors should not shy away from challenging leaders about variations in outcomes for pupil groups and between disadvantaged and other pupils nationally.
- seek to maintain a deep, accurate understanding of the academy’s effectiveness informed by the views of pupils, parents and staff. They use this to keep the academy improving by focusing on the impact of their actions in key areas.
- challenge senior leaders to ensure that teaching is highly effective across the academy and that the curriculum is broad and balanced and inspires pupils to learn. This should include pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development and, within this, the promotion of fundamental British values.
- challenge senior leaders to ensure that safeguarding is effective and that the work to protect pupils from radicalisation and extremism is exemplary.
- are expected to both support and challenge the Principal and academy leadership to secure the improvements set out in the Academy Improvement Plan (AIP)
- seek any information it requires from the academy, via the Principal or Vice Principal, who are requested to cooperate with the Council in the conduct of its work.
The specific duties of the Committee shall be:
- To monitor the implementation and impact of the Academy Improvement Plan, reporting any significant exceptions to the Executive Principal.
- To engage in relevant training and coaching that will support highly effective governance.
- To monitor progress towards local academy targets including but not limited to student attainment, including narrowing educational gaps, progress, attendance, behaviour, and wellbeing, and to hold Principals to account for achieving these.
- To monitor the Academy’s risk register, ensuring that risks and responses are appropriately identified, and that mitigation measures are appropriate in addressing risks, escalating significant risks to the Board as appropriate.
- To undertake monitoring of the improvement work of the academy with the Senior Leadership Team as part of the academy self-evaluation processes.
- To approve and monitor any improvement plans recommended in Ofsted inspection and DfE reports
- To ensure that academy policies and procedures are in place in line with the CLF guidance.
- To review reports on behaviour and exclusions and review the effectiveness of provision to support pupils vulnerable to exclusion.
- To review the Academy’s annual staffing plans to ensure that the staffing structure can effectively support the Academy’s priorities
- To receive reports from the Academy Business Manager on the Academy’s financial plans to ensure that resources are being directed appropriately, to monitor the Academy’s overall financial position and, remain alert to the need for central finance team to take remedial action where necessary
- To be engaged in Academy recruitment processes, in particular for senior Academy leaders and Principal appointments.
- To feed into the appraisals of Academy Principals.
- To ensure good employment practice and promote positive staff relations. This includes the swift resolution of staffing issues and membership of HR panels convened to hear employment cases. Councillors should ensure that they operate according to CLF guidelines and in line with CLF HR guidance at all times.
- To ensure that the Health and Safety and Safeguarding Policies are correctly implemented and to secure the health, safety and wellbeing of staff and students, including ensuring that statutory training requirements are met.
- To approve and periodically review the Academy’s critical incident plans and procedures to ensure that they remain effective.
- To ensure that the Academy has adequate arrangements in place for reporting accidents.
- To review and act on the reports of the Academy’s health and safety committee and Designated Safeguarding Officer.
- To carry out any other duties as may be occasionally required by the Board or Chairs of Academy Council sub-committee.
Use of the pupil premium
Academy Councillors must monitor and hold the Principal to account in relation to:
- the level of pupil premium funding received by the academy in the current academic year and levels of funding received in previous academic years;
- how the academy proposes to spend the pupil premium, the rationale for this spending and its intended impact;
- the impact made to the learning and progress of disadvantaged pupils as shown by outcomes data, internal and external reviews and inspection evidence.
Register of Pecuniary Interests & Attendance
|Type||Name||Term of Office starts||Term of Office ends|
|Chair of Council||Linda Tanner||03/09/2018||02/09/2022|
|Sponsor Nominated Councillor 2||Nigel Eaton||16/06/2021||15/06/2025|
|Sponsor Nominated Councillor 3||Angela Long||04/07/2021||03/07/2025|
|Sponsor Nominated Councillor 4||Alison Evans||20/04/2020||19/04/2024|
|Sponsor Nominated Councillor 5||Georgina Tankard||20/06/2019||19/06/2023|
|Principal||Kate Willis||Ex Officio||Ex Officio|
|Executive Principal||Dan Nicholls||Ex Officio||Ex Officio|
|Parent Councillor 1||Scott Raybould||14/12/2018||13/12/2022|
|Parent Councillor 2||Fiona Thompson||11/12/2019||10/12/2023|
|Teacher Councillor||Veronica Mastrandrea||01/02/2021||31/01/2025|
|Support Staff Councillor||Simon Horn||15/11/2021||14/11/2025|
|Student Advocate||Holly Vickers||18/12/2019||17/12/2023|
Chair of John Cabot Academy Council
The Council operates under a Scheme of Delegation from the Cabot Learning Federation and members act as “critical” friends to John Cabot Academy. Their responsibilities include holding the Principal to account for strategy, financial management, student safety and achievement.
Linda Tanner is the Chair of Council. Linda is a journalist and a communications consultant. She was education correspondent for the Bristol Post from 2005 – 2012 and covered the early years of the formation of the CLF. She became founding chair of Wallscourt Farm Academy Council in 2013 and continues to serve on the council. She was also a local authority primary school governor from 1997 – 2009.
- Linda provides advice and support to schools and other education clients both independently and through Local Voice Network as well as reporting and editing for the Voice series of news magazines in Bristol and writing and commenting on education issues. She is married with three adult daughters.