Board Development & External Review
This process is intended to support charity and academy trust boards to reflect on their effectiveness, areas for development, and training needs. Organisations such as the Department for Education have suggested that boards look to undertake a thorough, preferably external review of their own effectiveness and readiness for future growth / development. This is to ensure that a trust has a clear view of the skills it will need in its next phase of growth and robust plans in place to fill any gaps through training or recruitment.
The review includes a series of workshops, meetings and interviews with Forum Strategy, questionnaires and a comprehensive final report with clear recommendations. Our work is informed by associates and staff with a background in corporate governance, organisational development, and advanced legal training. It is carefully informed by best practice thinking on corporate governance and organisational development.
The format is as follows:
- An introductory workshop providing an overview of the process and why it matters to the board’s ongoing development (1 hour).
- A 360 degree review of the effectiveness of the board through surveys and one-to-one interviews (focusing on areas such as strategic planning, composition and delegation, committee structures, challenge & relationships, stakeholder relationships, training, understanding and use of data etc.)
- A skills-audit based on wide ranging research into the competencies and ‘experience and qualifications metrics’ for governing boards.
- A succession planning audit and review of recruitment strategy for future appointments.
- A workshop session discussing key outcomes from the review and ‘next step’ planning (3 hours).
- A final report on the outcomes of the process and next steps.
Isle Education Trust Board worked with Forum Strategy to ensure independent input and challenge for our Board evaluation.
The process was explained to all Directors at the beginning to ensure ‘buy in’ and to make clear the importance of the exercise.
The Forum team were ultimate professionals taking us through the process in a logical, straightforward manner and ensuring that key themes were captured.
The timing for us was critical and led in to further strategy events and Trust-wide engagement. Through this exercise we were able to verify our strategy and ensure a relevant plan for the future. We will now move forward with confidence. Thank- you.”
Forum Strategy’s knowledge of the MAT sector, coupled with support from their experienced governance advisor, allowed our board to undertake a deep review. A variety of activities ranging from observation, interviews and online surveys enabled Forum to give us clear feedback on what we did well and what we could enhance further. The whole process from start to finish was comprehensive and allowed for a deep understanding of our context and needs. This coupled with the best practice and experience brought to us through this process from Forum will no doubt strengthen even further the work of our board. Recommend for boards that want to be challenged to be even better.
Training and Development for Trustees and Trust boards
The success of multi-academy trusts fundamentally depends on strong, strategic and values-based trust boards. It is essential that trusts invest in the induction and ongoing development of their trustees – not least in a fast-changing education landscape that must adapt and respond to provide children and young people with the best possible start. Indeed, as the sector learns more about the characteristics and practices of successful MATs, it is essential that all trustees stay up to speed to ensure the success of their own organisations. Forum provides a number of individual training sessions for academy trustees, including:
Induction session for MAT trustees: the role and responsibilities of academy trustees and an introduction to the multi-academy trust landscape.
This session explores some of the fundamental aspects of the role of trustees and introduces new trustees to the MAT model. It covers:
- The Nolan principles of public life.
- The principles of effective governance.
- Key provisions of the academies financial handbook & the governance handbook (including an introduction to the ‘scheme of delegation’).
- The core components of successful governance in MATs.
- The concept of multi-academy trusts, including the opportunities & challenges associated with their successful and sustainable development.
- Case studies on both effective and poor examples of trust governance.
- The role of the Chair & the board’s relationship with the CEO.
This engaging and highly informative session – which is based on our own extensive research and case studies – can be provided for individual academy trust boards on request
Navigating a changing landscape: strategic reflection, and planning in response to an evolving context for education.
This is a half-day/evening session that is used by some MAT trust boards as an annual planning event. It is an opportunity to reflect on the key challenges and opportunities that their organisations currently face and to begin to plan ahead strategically for the next stage of their development. The sessions provide trust boards with key and relevant information and helps to facilitate important thinking and reflection time.
This year’s ‘Navigating a changing education landscape’ training session will encourage trustees to review and discuss the following areas:
- The latest research and understanding on sustainable and successful MAT development and growth, and the key implications for trust boards’ planning going forward.
- Understanding the recruitment and retention challenge and strategies for establishing your MAT as an employer of choice in a competitive recruitment climate.
- Understanding the evolving financial climate for schools and reflecting on strategies for how MATs can achieve financial sustainability and efficiency in challenging times.
These sessions are informed by the latest research, our ongoing monitoring of government policy and the best practice case studies that we develop via our extensive networks of multi-academy trusts across the country.
It is a half-day session which can also be run from 4.30pm –7.30pm to accommodate trustees’ working patterns.
Contact us for for more information
If you are interested in any of the services listed contact us for a full consultation.