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Robert Smyth Academy

innovation & excellence



All schools, colleges and academies must have a Governing Body (GB), or a Local Governing Body (LGB) if it is part of a multi-academy trust (MAT). GBs and LGBs work under the terms described in the Education Act 2012 and Regulations associated with that Act that have come into force after 2012. How GBs and LGBs conduct their work is framed by other guidance, some of which is advisory and some obligatory.


GBs have three core functions. They are:

  • Overseeing the College’s strategic direction by:
    • Seeking to ensure (support and challenge) the educational performance of the College and the safety and welfare of all pupils; and
    • Oversight (support and challenge) of the College’s financial performance and the use of resources, including staff

GBs also have some statutory duties, for example the safeguarding of pupils, employment within the College and complaints procedures.

The functions and statutory duties are dealt with in GB Committees as well as Full Governing Body (FGB) meetings. FGB meetings receive reports from Committee meetings. Members of the Academy’s leadership team are present at GB meetings. There is also frequent contact between members of the GB and other members of the Academy’s staff. All GB meetings are formally conducted and a full record of them, their minutes and a register of attendance is maintained.

Finally, the GB is subject to inspection by The Office for Standards in Education (OfSTED). The GB’s performance is assessed and forms part of the Leadership and Management section in OfSTED reports.

Academies work best when the relationships between all its stakeholders (students, their parents and carers, staff and the GB) are based on trust and openness. This trust comes with systems of reporting from the Academy to the GB, knowledgeable governors who understand what is being done and meetings with other stakeholders where the Academy’s strategic direction, policy decisions and the development of educational practice can be discussed. This means, for example, that details of examination results are reviewed, policies intended to improve behaviours for learning are considered and key indicators such as attendance, exclusion data and financial reports are scrutinised. All this means that the GB is an important point of contact for others, including parents – which is why there are parent-governors.


Because of its indebted position in the academic year 2015-2016 the Academy was given a Financial Notice to Improve (FNTI) by its funding agency. Responding to the FNTI is at the centre of the GB’s current work. However, maintaining (and improving) the excellent outcomes seen in 2016 is of equal importance. The argument here are that improvements in outcomes are a major part of the long-term solution to the Academy’s financial issues. That is why attention continues to be paid to how students are learning, how students are taught, what it is that they are being taught and how standards can continue to improve.

Since the summer of 2016 the Academy has sought to become a member of a MAT. This, the GB believes, will be a major help dealing with the FNTI and its drive to improve standards. This is the second part of the GB’s current focus. MATs are groups of academies with a single, central structure. While their funding arrangements differ a little from those of standalone academies, of much more importance is their ability to provide support in the crucial areas of teaching, learning, curriculum provision, finance and resource management. Since the Autumn 2016 The Robert Smyth Academy has been working with a MAT based in Solihull – Tudor Grange Academy Trust (TGAT). Work with TGAT is now at a very advanced stage and the transfer date is expected to be the 1st September 2017.


Academy, college and school governors are the largest single group of volunteers working in Britain today. These volunteers have a passionate interest in education – for many different reasons – and give their time and energy to improve the establishments they serve.

Currently (May 2017) there are twelve governors. The names of all governors in 2016 – 2017 follow, together with their category (the constituency from which they come, the types of category are given in the regulations noted at the start), the dates when they were appointed or left the GB and their attendance at scheduled FGB meetings in this academic year. The registration of Interests of the Governors, a statutory requirement, is at the end of this section.

Name Category Appointed Left Attendance
Mrs Sharon Baseley Elected Parent 11/16 2/3
Ms Josie Bessell Community 08/11 6/6
Mr Aaron Bohannon Community 10/16 4/5
Mr Max Corney Community 08/11 10/16 2/2
Mrs Lucia DeVido Staff 12/16 1/1
Dr Kevin Feltham Community 08/11 4/6
Mr Geoff Green Community 12/16 1/1
Ms Anna Hefford Co-opted 11/11 03/17 3/6
Ms Sarah Hefford Co-opted 11/11 03/17 2/6
Mr Steve Harris Community 10/16 4/6
Ms Sue Jones Principal 09/14 02/17 6/6
Mrs Alice King Staff 11/12 12/16 5/5
Dr Paul Machon Community 05/16 6/6
Mrs Emma Mercer Elected parent 06/17
Mr Mike Scully Staff 11/11 6/6
Mr Richard Taylor Acting Principal 03/17 5/6
Mrs Judith Waddington Community 09/15 6/6
Mrs Irene Ward Community 08/11 6/6

The Chairman of the Governing Body is Dr Paul Machon; the Vice-Chair of the Governing Body and Chair of the Teaching and Learning Committee is Mrs Irene Ward, the Chair of both the Audit and Finance and Resources Committee is Mrs Judith Waddington and the Chair of the 11-19 Development Committee is Mr Mike Scully.

At the time of writing the GB has some vacancies. The GB has a vacancy for a second elected parent governor and the process to make good that vacancy has begun. Finally, while GBs can co-opt members this GB currently has no members in this category.

The GB would always be pleased to hear from those who may be interested in taking part in the GB’s work. Please contact the Academy if you would like to have more information.


In the academic year 2016-2017 to date the GB has met with a greater frequency than is usual because of its work with TGAT.

Before the end of the 2016-2017 academic year there will be two further meetings of the FGB and two Reporting Meetings with TGAT colleagues. There will also be other meetings. The major meeting dates this term are:

  • 23rd May 2017 – 18:00 – FGB
  • 6th June 2017 – 18:00 – A Reporting Meeting with TGAT colleagues
  • 26th June 2017 – 18:00 – FGB
  • 4th July 2017 – 18:00 – A Reporting Meeting with TGAT colleagues

Declarations of interest

Governor  Declaration
Mr A.Bohannon 03×16
Mr G.Green 12oi17
Mrs I Ward 03×16
Ms J.Bessell 03×16 Director of DMG Rail Ltd
Mrs J.Waddington 03×16
Dr K.Feltham 03×16 Elected member of LCC
Mrs L.De Vido 04oi17 RSA employee
Mr M.Scully 03×16 RSA employee
Dr P.Machon 03×16 Trustee of a MAT
Mrs S.Baseley 03×16
Mr S.Harris 03×16
Mr R.Taylor 03×16 RSA employee


The most recent accounts are those contained in the ‘Trustees’ Report and Financial Statements for the year ended 31 August 2016’.

These accounts were ‘signed off’ on the 5th December 2016 and received by Companies House on the 21st January 2017.

Last updated: June 5, 2017