Trustee Code of Conduct

Code of Conduct for the Trust Board of The Kingston Academy 2018/19

The trust board has the following core strategic functions:

Establishing the strategic direction, by:

  • Setting and ensuring clarity of the vision, values, and objectives for the school/trust
  • Agreeing the school improvement strategy with priorities and targets
  • Meeting statutory duties

Ensuring accountability, by:

  • Appointing the headteacher
  • Monitoring the educational performance of the school and progress towards targets
  • Performance managing the headteacher
  • Engaging with stakeholders
  • Contributing to school self-evaluation

Ensuring financial performance, by:

  • Setting the budget
  • Monitoring spending against the budget
  • Ensuring money is well spent and value for money is obtained
  • Ensuring risks to the organisation are managed

As individuals on the board we agree to the following:

Role & Responsibilities  

  • We understand the purpose of the board and the role of the headteacher.
  • We accept that we have no legal authority to act individually, except when the board has given us delegated authority to do so, and therefore we will only speak on behalf of the trust board when we have been specifically authorised to do so.
  • We accept collective responsibility for all decisions made by the board or its delegated agents. This means that we will not speak against majority decisions outside the trust board meeting.
  • We have a duty to act fairly and without prejudice, and in so far as we have responsibility for staff, we will fulfil all that is expected of a good employer.
  • We will encourage open governance and will act appropriately.
  • We will consider carefully how our decisions may affect the community and other schools.
  • We will always be mindful of our responsibility to maintain and develop the ethos and reputation of our school. Our actions within the school and the local community will reflect this.
  • In making or responding to criticism or complaints affecting the school we will follow the procedures established by the trust board.
  • We will actively support and challenge the headteacher.
  • We will accept and respect the difference in roles between the board and staff, ensuring that we work collectively for the benefit of the organisation.
  • We will respect the role of the headteacher and their responsibility for the day to day management of the school and avoid any actions that might undermine such arrangements.
  • We agree to adhere to the school’s rules and policies and the procedures of the trust board as set out by the relevant governing documents and law.
  • When formally speaking or writing in our governing role we will ensure our comments reflect current organisational policy even if they might be different to our personal views.
  • When communicating in our private capacity (including on social media) we will be mindful of and strive to uphold the reputation of the organisation.

Commitment

  • We commit to work collectively to embed a culture of effective succession planning. This will be achieved by identifying successors, nurturing and mentoring talent to ensure smooth transition of leadership roles i.e. chair, vice chair, chairs of committees and link trustee positions. As individuals we will complete an annual evaluation and skills audit to identify strengths or areas for leadership development within the board.
  • We acknowledge that accepting office as a trustee involves the commitment of significant amounts of time and energy.
  • We will each involve ourselves actively in the work of the trust board, and accept our fair share of responsibilities, including service on committees or working groups.
  • We will commit to attend all meetings and where we cannot attend explain in advance to the clerk or the chair why we are unable to.
  • We will get to know the school well and respond to opportunities to involve ourselves in school activities.
  • We will visit the school, during the school day, at least once each academic year, with all visits to school arranged in advance with the applicable staff, undertaken within the framework established by the trust board and agreed with the headteacher.
  • When visiting the school in a personal capacity (ie as a parent or carer), we will maintain our underlying responsibility as a trustee.
  • We will consider seriously our individual and collective needs for training and development, and will all undertake to attend the ‘Getting to Grips with Governance’ CPD session within the first 3-6 months of appointment.
  • To ensure our safeguarding responsibilities are adhered to we will all commit to read the ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ guidance. We collectively acknowledge the requirement for two designated safeguarding link trustees to be in place at all times. The expectation placed on the safeguarding link trustees is to familiarise themselves with the whole guidance document and commit to Level 1 safeguarding training – (pre-course e learning safeguarding awareness programme, followed by face to face AfC Role of the Safeguarding Governor’). We acknowledge that best practice would be for all trustees to commit to address this training.
  • We acknowledge that if, as individuals we do not comply with training expectations this could lead to possible suspension from the board.
  • We will commit to refresh relevant training every three years (2 to 3 years in the case of safer recruitment) to keep abreast of current changes in governance legislation.
  • We accept that in the best interests of open governance, our full names, date of appointment, term of office, roles on the board, attendance records, relevant business and pecuniary interests, category of trustee, date of resignation and applicable appointing body will be published on the school website.
  • In the interests of transparency we accept that information relating to trustees will be collected and logged on the DfE’s national database of governors – Get Information about Schools (formally Edubase).
  • We acknowledge that in accordance with government legislation we will comply with the school to instigate the application of an enhanced criminal records certificate within 21 days of appointment to the Board.
  • (For new trustees) we acknowledge and agree to note our application form number and register without delay with the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Update Service (free to volunteers) at www.gov.uk/dbs-update-service. We acknowledge that by registering to the Update Service an annual DBS check will be electronically renewed, free of charge, in my capacity as a trustee on this Board.

Relationships

  • We will strive to work as a team in which constructive working relationships are actively promoted.
  • We will express views openly, courteously and respectfully in all our communications with other trustees the clerk to the trust board and school staff both inside and outside of meetings.
  • We will support the chair in their role of ensuring appropriate conduct both at meetings and at all times.
  • We are prepared to answer queries from other trustees in relation to delegated functions and take into account any concerns expressed, and we will acknowledge the time, effort and skills that have been committed to the delegated function by those involved.
  • We will seek to develop effective working relationships with the headteacher, staff and parents, the local authority and other relevant stakeholders within our community.
  • We will acknowledge that as trustees we are representatives of our category of governorship, as opposed to representatives for parents or staff and are primarily appointed due to the skills that we bring to the board..

Proceedings of the trust board

  • As a corporate body, we agree to make unanimous decisions by email, if deemed necessary/urgent and such decisions will subsequently be ratified and minuted at the next scheduled meeting.
  • Trustees may participate or vote at meetings by telephone or video conference provided at least 48 hours notice has been given to the clerk or chair..
  • We agree to follow the Guidance on the Conduct of Meetings approved by the Trust Board (annexed).

Confidentiality

  • We will observe complete confidentiality when matters are deemed confidential or where they concern specific members of staff or pupils, both inside or outside school.
  • We will exercise the greatest prudence at all times when discussions regarding school business arise outside a trust board or committee meeting.
  • We will not reveal the details of any trust board or committee vote.
  • We will ensure all confidential papers are held and disposed of appropriately (where applicable).

Conflicts of interest

  • We will record any pecuniary or other business interest (including those related to people we are connected with) that we have in connection with the trust board’s business in the Register of Business Interests, and if any such conflicted matter arises in a meeting we will offer to leave the meeting for the appropriate length of time.
  • We accept that the Register of Business and trustees’ details will be published on the school website. Any trustee failing to provide information to enable the trust board to fulfil their responsibilities may be in breach of the code of conduct and as a result be bringing the trust board into disrepute.
  • We will also declare any conflict of loyalty at the start of any meeting should the situation arise.
  • We will act in the best interests of the school as a whole and not as a representative of any group, even if elected to the trust board.

Ceasing to be a governor/trustee/academy committee member  

  • We understand that the requirements relating to confidentiality will continue to apply after a governor/trustee/academy committee member leaves office

Breach of this code of conduct

  • If we believe this code has been breached, we will raise this issue with the chair and the chair will investigate; the trust board will only use suspension/removal as a last resort after seeking to resolve any difficulties or disputes in more constructive ways.
  • Should it be the chair that we believe has breached this code, another trustee, such as the vice chair will investigate.

The Seven Principles of Public Life

(Originally published by the Nolan Committee: The Committee on Standards in Public Life was established by the then Prime Minister in October 1994, under the Chairmanship of Lord Nolan, to consider standards of conduct in various areas of public life, and to make recommendations).

Selflessness – Holders of public office should act solely in terms of the public interest. They should not do so in order to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves, their family, or their friends.

Integrity – Holders of public office should not place themselves under any financial or other obligation to outside individuals or organisations that might seek to influence them in the performance of their official duties.

Objectivity – In carrying out public business, including making public appointments, awarding contracts, or recommending individuals for rewards and benefits, holders of public office should make choices on merit.

Accountability – Holders of public office are accountable for their decisions and actions to the public and must submit themselves to whatever scrutiny is appropriate to their office.

Openness – Holders of public office should be as open as possible about all the decisions and actions that they take. They should give reasons for their decisions and restrict information only when the wider public interest clearly demands.

Honesty – Holders of public office have a duty to declare any private interests relating to their public duties and to take steps to resolve any conflicts arising in a way that protects the public interest.

Leadership – Holders of public office should promote and support these principles by leadership and example.

This Code of Conduct was formally adopted by the trust board of The Kingston Academy on 1 October 2018 and signed by all trustees

 

Appendix

Kingston Educational Trust Guidance on Conduct of Meetings

Kingston Educational Trust – Guidance on conduct of meetings

Overview

Meetings of the Trust Board and its various sub-committees are the primary means by which the Trust’s governance is enacted. As such these are important and significant events and all participants are expected to engage with them in as professional a manner as possible. It is essential that all trustees are clear as to their role and the expectations of them.

The purpose of this guidance is to describe the approach to conducting meetings that has been agreed by the full Trust Board and adopted as part of its working practice.

Guiding Principles

  • The role of trustees and other participants in meetings is to contribute to the strategic oversight and accountability of the Trust’s operations and to provide challenge and support as appropriate.
  • Trustees are expected to approach these activities in a way that may be described as “eyes on, hands off” with regard to the balance between strategic and operational involvement.
  • Trustees are expected to be sufficiently prepared for meetings to ensure that they are able to contribute and that those contributions are well-informed and appropriate.
    To aid this:

    • trustees are encouraged to attend whatever training (or to seek advice from others) they deem as necessary to develop their knowledge of the topics under discussion;
    • papers should be available one week in advance of the meeting;
    • papers should be prepared in such a way as to minimise the use of acronyms and technical language as far as is possible.
  • Chairs should ensure that all meetings are conducted in such a way as to enable all trustees (and other participants) to feel confident to speak up and to contribute. Chairs should seek to draw all participants into discussions.
  • The time available for meetings is constrained and limited. As a consequence, all participants are expected to ensure that the available time is used to the maximum benefit of all.
  • Meetings should always start promptly at the appointed time, regardless of the non-attendance of latecomers, unless there are exceptional reasons not to do so.
  • The Chairs of all meetings should aim to ensure that time-keeping is sufficiently robust to ensure that meetings end by the appointed time.
    To aid this Chairs should:

    • aim for as few items on agendas as are necessary, which will also ensure the maximum amount of time for discussion;
    • ensure that agenda items have provisional timings;
    • devote no more time than is essential for considering outstanding actions and reviewing previous meetings;
    • prevent the repetition of material that has been circulated in advance, concentrating instead on discussion of it;
    • feel able to close a discussion down and suggest that specific points are developed outside of meetings if they feel a real need to do so;
    • ensure that all points for further action are noted by those responsible.
  • Attendance at meetings by staff (and other participants) is sometimes necessary and often helpful. Chairs will decide how this engagement is to be organised to maximise the contribution to the meeting while being mindful of the need not to occupy staff and visitors for longer than is necessary.
  • The draft minutes of the meeting will be circulated by the Clerk to the Chair for checking within 7 days of the meeting.
  • The draft minutes will be checked, amended as necessary and returned to the Clerk by the Chair within 7 days of receipt.
  • The finalised minutes of the meeting will be circulated to all who should receive them by the Clerk within 2 days of receipt from the Chair.
  • Actions arising from the meeting should be followed up by those responsible as soon as possible, with updates on progress expected at the next meeting.