The Vale Academy Trust has a multi-tier governance structure, consisting of Members, Trustees and Governors. All of these positions are voluntary and unpaid, and we are extremely grateful to the highly skilled group of people who commit their time and expertise to our Trust and schools.
Trustees sit on the Board of Trustees, which is the body with legal responsibility for the governance and performance of the Trust and all of its schools and operations; the Trustees are also 'directors' under company law. Their biographies can be found on the Our Trustees page. The Board is accountable to the Secretary of State for Education, and is composed of twelve Trustee positions, of which nine are appointed by the Members and three by the Oxford Diocesan Board of Education (ODBE), reflecting the blend of community and church schools in the Trust family.
The Board assigns local governance responsibilities to the Local Governing Body (LGB) of each school, in accordance with the Scheme of Delegated Authority and the LGB Terms of Reference (see documents below).
Each LGB has between eight and twelve Governors, dependent on school size, composed of Board-appointed Governors, elected Parent and Staff Governors, and the Headteacher (by virtue of the office they hold). LGBs for Church of England schools also have Foundation Governors, appointed by the ODBE.
The LGB provides oversight of the school's management, performance and finances, in line with the development plan for the Trust. The LGB also ensures Trust-wide and local policies are implemented and monitored, and that meeting and reporting structures are aligned with those of the Board.
Our LGB (Local Governing Body)
Tim Benbow: Chair, Parent Governor, Safeguarding, Teaching & Learning
Tim joined the governing body as Chair in 2021, having previously served as a member and vice-chair of the LGB at Millbrook. He is a university lecturer at King’s College London, where he teaches history and politics. He lives in East Challow and has two daughters who attend St Nics.
Rev. Alec Gill: Foundation Governor, Ethos & Values, Pupil Voice
Alec became part of the LGB following his move to the local area in September 2016, taking up the role of Associate Vicar for the Vale Benefice. Alec has been a Church of England minister for 4 years, previously working as a church youth worker. As one of our local vicars, Alec’s concern is for the school to achieve the best outcomes for all its pupils and staff, through its identity as a Church of England school.
Heather Richards: Headteacher
Heather joined as Headteacher at St Nicholas CE Primary in January 2021 and has over many years of experience teaching and leading in small Church of England schools across Oxfordshire. Interestingly St Nicolas Primary was her first teaching position in Oxfordshire. Prior to this she worked at a large two-form primary in Southend-on-Sea and prior to that taught in South Norwood in London. She brings twenty-five years teaching experience across a wide range of settings.
Lisa Speakman: Parent Governor, Special Needs & Pupil Premium
Lisa was appointed to the role as Parent Governor (June 2021). She has two children at St Nicholas and works as a P.E teacher in a secondary school. She is looking forward to supporting the school in her new role over the coming years.
Nicola Wilson: Parent Governor, Website, Social Media & Marketing
Trevor Hayes, Director Appointed Governor
Richard Hornsby, Director Appointed Governor
Jazmin Riggs, Staff Governor
Lottie Smith: Clerk
For more information about the role of LGBs within the Vale Academy Trust please refer to the documents below.