In common with all other academy trusts in England, KMAT has members who have a similar role to shareholders of a company limited by shares. However, because KMAT is a charity, members’ focus is on whether the Board of Trustees are doing a good job of directing the activities of the Trust and checking the educational outcomes of the academies in the trust are good enough rather than on profit. Members are not trustees and they do not get involved in the day to day to running of the trust.
What members do
The powers of members, acting as a group, are:
- to amend the articles of association subject to any restrictions created by the funding agreement or charity law
- to appoint new members or remove existing members
- to appoint and remove trustees in certain circumstances
- to issue direction, by special resolution, to the trustees to take a specific action
- appoint the trust's auditors and receive the audited annual accounts (subject to the Companies Act)
- to change the company's name and, ultimately, wind it up.
No individual member acting alone can do any of the above.
How many members does KMAT have?
We currently have three members. Every academy trust must have at least three members but the Department for Education has a strong preference is that trusts should have at least five members. We agree with that view because having more members provides for a more diverse range of perspectives and ensures members can take decisions via special resolution without requiring unanimity. Whenever we have fewer than five members, we actively seek to appoint new member(s) to take us back to at least that number.
Working with the trustees
As responsibility to conduct the trust's business sits with the trustees, members should be 'eyes on and hands off' and avoid compromising the board's discretion.
However if the governance of the trust by the board of trustees becomes dysfunctional our members will have a strong interest in ensuring the board has plans to address the issues or otherwise to remove the board or individual trustees and re-appoint trustees with the skills necessary for effective governance.
Appointing new members
When we have a vacancy, we place an advert on the Vacancies section of the trust website or use recruitment specialists to assist us. We recruit new members against a skills analysis and competency matrix to ensure that our members have the right balance of knowledge, skills and experience to add value to the work of the trust.
Chief Executive, Institute of School Business Leadership (ISBL)
Stephen has a 20-year career history in operations and finance, working at a senior level in the public and private sectors, both in the UK and abroad.
Stephen presided over the development and implementation of nationally recognised school business leadership professional standards and led the transition from the National Association of School Business Management to the Institute of School Business Leadership.
Stephen works closely with the Department for Education in areas of policy reform, and his commitment to research to aid our self-improving system includes ongoing engagement with international jurisdictions including Australia, Europe, the Middle East and the US.
Helen Higson, Aston University
Helen Higson completed her first degree in English Literature from Newnham College, Cambridge University and followed this up with an MA with the Open University and a PhD at Birkbeck College, London University. She has worked in Higher Education since 1983, first at Southampton University and then at Aston. She is currently Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Aston University where she is Chief Academic Officer and leads on learning and teaching. Her previous role was as Head of Learning and Teaching at Aston Business School. She is Professor of Higher Education Learning and Management and National Teaching Fellow (NTF) and Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (PFHEA). Her current research includes intercultural training for staff and students and research into employability competencies and diversity. Helen Higson contributed a chapter to the 2012 Wilson Review on University Business relations. Helen was awarded the OBE in the 2011 New Year Honours for services to Higher Education and in 2017 was appointed as a Deputy Lieutenant for the West Midlands.
Steve is the Director of Advice and Guidance at NGA. His role includes the development of high quality guidance for NGA members and supervising the delivery of high quality advice to NGA GOLD members as well as supporting NGA’s work on good governance practice.
Prior to working at NGA Steve was Governor Services Manager at Birmingham City Council overseeing the Council’s statutory responsibilities in relation to maintained school governing boards, and the advice, guidance and consultancy provided to both maintained schools and academies through the Council’s School and Governor Support team.