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ELT Governance Structure

About the Enlighten Learning Trust

The Enlighten Learning Trust was incorporated in April 2014 and is a company limited by guarantee and an exempt charity.

 As the Trust grows it will continually review its governance arrangements to take account of best practice in the sector and keep in line with DfE guidance and the Academy Trust Handbook.

Governance is underpinned by a common understanding about who is responsible for providing valuable input into decision making and who has the decision-making responsibility.  This information is set out in the ELT Scheme of Delegation.

Effective governance in the Trust is supported by:

  • The Members – the guardians of governance.
  • The Board of Trustees – responsible for the strategic oversight and performance of the Trust and its academies. The Board hold legal accountability for all aspects of operational delivery and are required to have systems to assure themselves of the quality, safety and good practice of the affairs of the Trust.
  • Local Governing Bodies (LGBs) – these committees work at local level to: provide support, monitoring and challenge around educational experience and performance; church, community and stakeholder engagement; and supporting alignment with Trust strategy, approach, ethos and values.
  • The Trust Senior Leadership Team – this team is responsible for the educational and operational outcomes for the Trust as set out by the Board. The CEO is the Accounting Officer and has personal responsibility to the ESFA and the DfE.
  • Headteachers - have responsibility for the performance and defined operational activity areas in an academy in line with Trust strategy, vision and values.

At the Enlighten Learning Trust we have different tiers of governance to enable the effective running of both the schools and the whole organisation.  As a result, there are levels of delegation that facilitate the correct balance between autonomy and alignment with the objects of the Trust as a whole.  It is important for all with oversight of the schools to understand how the structure works and the implications for the school they support, and this succinct summary is designed to help this.


The highest level of accountability rests with the members who are notionally ‘eyes on, hands off’ and should not compromise the Board’s discretion. This group meets three times a year primarily to safeguard the governance of the Trust and ensure that Trustees are acting in accordance with the Trust’s charitable object – ‘to advance for the public benefit education in the UK’. They have responsibility for appointing and removing Trustees, directing them to undertake certain actions and adjusting the Trust’s articles (the legal framework of the Trust).  If the governance of the Trust by the Board of Directors becomes dysfunctional the members will have a strong interest in ensuring the board has plans to address the issues or otherwise to remove the Board or individual Directors and re-appoint Directors with the skills necessary for effective governance. 

The functions of the Members of the Academy Trust include that they:

  • may amend the Articles of Association subject to any restrictions in the Articles, the funding agreement or charity law
  • may, in certain circumstances, appoint new Members or remove existing Members
  • have powers to appoint and remove Trustees in certain circumstances
  • may, by special resolution, issue direction to the Trustees to take a specific action
  • appoint the Trust’s auditors and receive the Trust’s audited annual accounts (subject to the Companies Act)
  • have power to change the name of the Company and, ultimately, wind up the Academy Trust.

Members have significant separation from the Trustees who keep them informed of developments in the Trust.  ELT currently has 4 members.

The Board of Trustees

This is the decision-making body of the Trust and is accountable for the performance of the schools within the Multi-Academy Trust.  The Trustees act as the employer of the staff of the Trust and are themselves volunteers who direct the executive to undertake the work of leading the Trust. 

The Board of the Multi Academy Trust, fulfilling the role of both Directors under company law and Trustees under charity law, exercise the powers and carry out the duties of the Multi-Academy Trust. The Board of Directors are responsible to the Members of the Multi-Academy Trust as well as the parents, pupils and staff at ELT schools.  The board’s three core governance functions are:

  • To ensure clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction
  • To hold the executive accountable for the educational performance of the schools and their staff
  • To oversee the financial performance of the schools and make sure money is well spent

In order to make good decisions the Trustees will seek high quality information from the schools and communities they serve and will delegate certain aspects to the executive leaders and the Local Governing Bodies of the schools.  The parameters of this are detailed in the Scheme of Delegation, and a risk register that is specific to each school. 

ELT’s articles of association are written so that diocesan and community schools can join the Trust and the constitution of the Board reflects this.  The Trustees are appointed by the Members and there are currently 5 in number.

Local Governing Bodies

Each school in the ELT retains a Local Governing Body (LGB) that exercises delegated influence and responsibilities over the performance of the school.  Local governors are the Trust’s ambassadors in the local community and hold deep knowledge of how the school provides for their children. 

The key functions of the LGBs are:

  • To support safeguarding and health and safety as they know the schools well.
  • To provide support, monitoring and challenge around education quality and performance. 
  • They have functions and powers delegated from the Trustees and this will include elements of school level finance and appointment of staff. 
  • To support the alignment of the school with the Trust strategy, vision and values.

LGBs usually number between 9 and 12 people with a balance of stakeholders from the school and its community and will include 2 parent governors and a staff governor.