Governance

The Alpha Plus Gold Standard is the Group’s vision of educational excellence. It informs individual school and college aims and objectives, and sets the standards to which Governors hold the Heads and Principals accountable. Governors are responsible for creating an ethos of high expectation; they monitor, evaluate, support and challenge the Heads and Principals and their Senior Leadership Teams.

Governance is concerned with providing insight, wisdom and good judgement. It requires Governors to know their schools, and to promote the importance of good leadership. In this way, Governors are able to ask and answer key questions:

  • How well are we doing?
  • How do we know?
  • Is it good enough?
  • What else do we need to do?

The three key responsibilities of the Governors are:

  1. To ensure that schools and colleges have clarity of vision, ethos, and strategic direction
  2. To hold the Head/Principal to account for:
    • The educational performance of the school/college and its pupils
    • Child welfare and protection
    • The performance management of staff
  1. To oversee the financial performance of the school/college, and to ensure that resources are responsibly and effectively deployed. (Ref. Department for Education Governance Handbook 2015)

Alpha Plus also provides management and professional services to its schools and colleges.

Governance structure

There are five components to the Alpha Plus governance structure for schools and colleges:

  1. Educational Governance
  2. Line Management
  3. Operational Management
  4. Group Corporate Governance – overseeing i), ii) and iii) above
  5. The Alpha Plus Council – an educational advisory body

1. Educational Governance

The Educational Governance process is managed by the Director of Education who is responsible for:

  • The quality assurance of the process, including the cycle of visits, the programme of review and checks, and follow-up of agreed actions. The termly programme of governance visits is described here. (Appendix 1 link)
  • If Governors also have operational or line management responsibilities, and/or corporate governance duties (see below), the Director of Education ensures that any potential conflicts of interest are avoided/reconciled.
  • The strategic development and quality assurance of teaching, curriculum, assessment, leadership and continuing professional development (CPD)
  • Promoting relationships with key educational bodies
  • The Director of Education is the nominated Lead Governor for Safeguarding, and the primary Governor contact for School Inspectors (e.g. ISI and Ofsted).

2. Line Management

The Director of Schools and Colleges is the primary contact point for the Head of each school. Key duties include:

  • Supporting and challenging Heads and Principals, mentoring and disciplining as required
  • Recruitment and induction of new Heads and Principals; succession planning
  • Objective-setting, annual review and appraisals
  • Identification of CPD and other developmental needs
  • Day-to-day guidance – e.g. on educational matters, incidents, parental relations, complaints
  • Holding Heads and Principals to account for the ‘inspection-readiness’ of their schools and colleges
  • Performance review of schools and colleges, and reporting to the Alpha Plus Board
  • Agreeing first draft annual budgets of each school and college

The Director of Schools and Colleges is also a Governor. The Director of Education is works to ensure potential conflicts between line management responsibilities and governance duties are avoided or reconciled.

3. Operational Management

One advantage of being part of a Group is the scale benefit it provides; it enables the provision of expert resources across a number of professional areas, in particular:

  • Finance
  • Human Resources
  • Information Technology
  • Marketing and Sales
  • Property (including Health & Safety)

4. Group Corporate Governance

The functions of Educational Governance, Operational and Line Management described above are all accountable to the Board of Alpha Plus Holdings plc.

The CEO, Executive Deputy Chairman, and non-executive Chairman of Alpha Plus Holdings are also Governors, and the Chairman is also Chair of the Governors. There are a number of other non-executive Directors who are not Governors.

The Board typically meets nine times a year to consider major operational and strategic matters. It reviews various reports, including the CEO’s executive summary, a financial report, and summary progress reports prepared by each Director. These contain academic, pastoral, and operational performance data and commentary for each school and college, as well as safeguarding and compliance issues, and inspection outcomes.

Each Head/Principal periodically attends a Board meeting to make a formal presentation regarding their school/college progress, performance, priorities and issues.

5. The Alpha Plus Council (advisory body)

For the avoidance of doubt, the members of the Council (other than the Alpha Plus Holdings plc Chairman and Executive Deputy Chairman) do not have any Governance responsibilities for the Alpha Plus schools and colleges.

The Alpha Plus Council advises on the educational direction of the Group and reviews the educational performance aspects of the schools and colleges. The Council meets once per term and its observations and advice are noted by the Board.

Council members offer a range of experience and include the former parent of a child educated within the Group. The Council considers recent developments in education and their implications for Alpha Plus schools and colleges, such as: curriculum and assessment; child welfare and protection; government policy; regulatory and inspection issues; independent sector market developments; and social issues such as trends in social media and technology.