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Life Academies Trust

Life Academies Trust

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Governance of LIFE Academies Trust

LIFE Academies Trust believe that the best way to support schools strategically is by fully utilising the possibilities presented by the 3-tier governance structure used across the charitable sector. 

We operate an annual programme of improvement, focussing on pupil outcomes, individual and collective governor development, safeguarding, effective clerking and statutory compliance.

By operating a skills-based governance structure, we have a broad range of  knowledge and experience at all levels which has allowed the development of a compelling educational philosophy alongside a clear short, medium and long term strategic direction - essential within an educational landscape which is constantly changing.




The Members have overall responsibility and ultimate decision making authority for all the work of the Trust, including the establishment and oversight of the Board of Trustees.

They act as ‘shareholders’ would in a company and take little role in the day to day operations of the Trust, delegating this role to the Board of Trustees.

Our Members are made up of local community and wider representatives with a deep, long-term knowledge and understanding of education and a real desire to ensure that our Trust is steered in the best long and short term strategic direction. 


Our Trustees are the people delegated by the Members to run the day to day affairs of the Trust ensuring that it complies with all its statutory duties under;

They have responsibility for directing its affairs, ensuring we are solvent and well run and deliver our charitable outcomes for the benefit of the public. 

We have taken a ‘skills based’ approach to developing our Board of Trustees, ensuring that we have a great balance of educational, financial, HR, charitable and local community skills represented on our Board. 

Having an extremely effective Board of Trustees with such a wide range of skills and experience is a key strength of our Trust and enables us to make high quality decisions based on up to date information and high levels of excellent prior experience. 

Board of Trustees

  • The Trust is legally one single company and therefore has overall legal responsibility and accountability for all areas of its operation.
  • The Trust Board will set the Strategy for the entire Charitable Company and make decisions about the structures and processes in place across it. 
  • In doing this, the Board of Trustees must comply (and therefore ensure consistent compliance) with all duties under:
    • Charity law
    • Company law
    • The Academies Financial Handbook
    • The Trust’s Articles of Association
    • All statutory education policy and guidance

The Trust Board will also ensure that it acts in line with their duties when delegating authority to a local governance committee and ensure that the individuals or entity discharging these duties are doing so correctly.

The biggest criticism of many LAs was that they did not do hold schools to account effectively enough and therefore simply let too many schools fail - without intervening early enough to stop this from happening. 

We will not let this happen!

The Chair of our Trust Board is John Dilley

Academy Governance Committees: 

A key aspect to this Governance structure is then the key inclusion of passionate advocates at local level.

These are people who: 

  • Are passionate about pupil outcomes and achievement. 
  • Want to work specifically within one educational setting and advocate for it within and beyond the Trust. 
  • Want to build and develop further relationships with that school’s community and really ensure the school is a central part of their locality.
  • Academy Governance Committees operate within the structures and processes set up by the Trust Board and with their ‘delegated authority’. This includes using Trust policies, structures and processes and working within the Scheme of Delegation. 
  • (It is the Trust Board who in turn ensure these structures and processes meet the necessary compliance regulations for all the necessary areas).

Academy Governance Committees therefore provide:

  • A forum of individuals to provide challenge and support to the Academy Principal / Head of Setting, outside of the formal line management structure.
  • An independent group who care only about their school / setting and who can advocate for this locally, and within the wider Trust.
  • Volunteer time spent providing assurance around educational standards, finance, safeguarding and SEND – acting as ‘eyes and ears’ of the Board (who have the legal responsibility) on the ground

Academy Governance Committees should always be able to develop the culture and ethos for how their school will deliver these required measures most appropriately and effectively for their children, families and communities. 

Current Chairs of our Academy Governance Committees are:

Chris Jones & Bernard Briars (Early Years) - Biggleswade Academy

Please click this link to view our Academy Governors information 


For all statutory and additional information about our governance operations, please see the links on the right hand side of this page. 

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