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The Trust Board

School Board

Local Governance is undertaken by local people with elected parents and staff on each School Board. A key principle that drives The Pioneer Academy, is that each school will be as autonomous as the quality of education it provides dictates. The key role of the School Board is the ongoing monitoring at individual school level to ensure the key performance indicators are achieve.

The School Boards have a minimum of 10 members. The Chair and majority of these governors (six in total per school) will be appointed by the Trust Board to ensure sufficient oversight and control of the strategic direction of the school from the sponsoring trust, The Pioneer Academy. The remaining governors will include:

  • Two elected parent governors
  • Two elected staff governors (one teaching, and one non-teaching)
  • The Head Teacher

Core Functions

The School Board has four core functions:

  • Ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction;
  • Holding executive leaders to account for the educational performance of the organisation and its pupils, and the performance management of staff; and
  • Overseeing the financial performance of the organisation and making sure its money is well spent.
  • Monitoring and evaluating the implementation of the School Development Plan (SDP) and reviewing the annual Self-Evaluation Report (SEF)

The School Board members are carefully selected, using the National Governance Association skills audit and skills matrix.  As a member of the School Board, local governors would be expected to take on a specific responsibility for one of 9 special interest areas detailed below.


1.            SEND/Disadvantaged (including Pupil Premium)

2.            Finance/Premises

3.            Safeguarding/Health and Safety

4.            Curriculum

5.            Attainment & Progress

6.            Teaching Standards

7.            Staffing

8.            Parents, Children and Community

9.            Attendance & Behaviour

Each special interest role will be allocated in line with the School Board Governor’s individual skillset and will also undergo bespoke training via The Pioneer Academy’s Training and Development Programme, which is aligned to the DfE’s Governance Handbook and Competency Framework for Governance –



What do the Governors do?

School Board Governors are very important in making sure that the school is fulfilling its purpose in providing an effective education for the children. The main aspect of the role is to be a “critical friend.” This is a bit of “governor speak” but describes the responsibility in that we are there to sense, check and monitor. A School Board Governor’s job is to focus on those aspects that indicate the performance of the school, and also take a strategic view of where we want the school to get to. It is not focused on day-to-day running of the operational side or day-to-day issues. The School Board Governors do not intervene in the professional responsibilities of teachers, but they do agree policies which, when put into practice by the teaching staff, determine what is taught to children. These policies are available on the website or from the school office.

The School Board meets at least once a term. Standing items on all School Board meeting agendas will be SEND, safeguarding, pupil progress (including of pupils with EAL, SEND, LAC and FSM), finance, health and safety as well as school culture.  Minutes of these meetings are displayed on a notice board by the school office.

The Pioneer Academy seeks to develop the role of School Board Governors to provide robust support and challenge, judging the impact of school leaders and all staff through the outcomes for pupils.

The School Board Governors work to these key principles:

  • To provide challenge and support to the Head Teacher and staff of the school to raise standards and keep pupils safe
  • To champion high achievement for all pupils, with a particular focus on the ‘Corporate Parenting’ role held by all governors
  • To monitor all aspects of the school performance, with probity and integrity
  • To ensure they are trained to understand data and performance to give them insight into the progress the school is making
  • To bring and discuss the views and perspectives of pupils, parents, carers and the community
  • To take an active role in the committee structures, deploying key skills effectively to the benefit of the school and The Pioneer Academy
  • To ensure proper practices and legal duties are discharged within the remit of the law and national guidance
  • To seek to optimise value for money services within the school and across the Trust schools

How are Governors Elected?

The Chair and majority of these governors (six in total per school) will be appointed by the Trust Board to ensure sufficient oversight and control of the strategic direction of the school from the sponsoring Trust, The Pioneer Academy. The two staff governors are elected by and from the staff at the school. They serve for four years. The two parent governors are elected by the parents of all pupils at the school and must be the parent of a child at the school at the time of their election. If their child leaves the school before the end of their 4-year term of office, they do not have to stand down. When there is a vacancy for a parent governor, all parents will be notified, invited to nominate candidates, provided with information about the candidates and be issued with a ballot form.

The Scheme of Delegation

South Norwood Board of Governors

Who are we?

Ruth Shanks - "I am a parent governor with one child as the school, my background is in HR and Payroll within Financial Services. I became a governor as I believe that when parents and schools collaborate, it can serve to achieve the best possible outsome for students".    

Lisa Hodson - I am new to the role of Governor but have over 10 years’ experience working in primary schools and children centres.  I wish to use my knowledge and skills to give back to the community in which I live, to enable children to have the best start in life.   School governance is vital to ensure a school has an impartial view on its direction and challenge leadership to enable the school to thrive and deliver excellent outcomes for children.  I hope I am able to be part of the school’s journey in achieving outstanding results in the years to come.” 

Erin Trembley "When I first expressed interest in becoming a school governor, the role was explained to me as that of a ‘critical friend’.  I thought that should come naturally enough given that I am always chatting and asking (too many?) questions!  I wanted to become a school governor because I was keen to get to know the school better and have more involvement in my daughter’s education, but also in making a difference to the school and the education outcomes of all pupils.  Having a solid base of a good education can change lives for the better – I wanted to play a part in securing this for all children in our challenging and wonderful community". 

Anne Slade

"I have recently joined the School Board at South Norwood as a Governor.  I have worked in the non-education support side of schools for over ten years and bring experience in strategically ensuring the most effective use of resources in the support of the learning objectives over schools, and a Multi-Academy Trust".

Louise Smith- "I have joined the School Board at South Norwood as a Governor this year.  Having spent the last ten years as both a teacher and Senior Leader in primary schools, I wanted to use my experience to support the school in their journey to achieving the best outcomes for all the pupils it serves. In a short time, I have seen South Norwood quickly become a friendly hub within their community and am really excited to be a part of their team".

Dominic Riddex "I became a governor at South Norwood in 2019 and have link responsibility for the school's curriculum.  In my day job, I work for the Department for Education and have seen how important good governance is to effective education - and the impact where it fails.  I also live nearby and wanted to do something that supports education and life chances for children in my area, and am so pleased to be helping South Norwood Primary be a great school". ​

The Chair of the Academy Govern//ing Body at South Norwood is Ms Ruth Shanks. 
The Clerk to the Governing Body can be contacted on: 

Governors Register 2021-22


Date of appointment

Date of resignations

Term of office

Appointed As


Business and Pecuniary Interests

Meetings Attended 2021-22

Melody Berthoud



Ex officio

Ex officio

Head Teacher


1 of 4

Ruth Shanks



4 years

Parent Governor  and Chair

Teaching and Learning



1 of 4

Lisa Hodson



4 years

Vice Chair



1 of 4

Al Kutchesfahani 



4 years

Staff Governor


Class Teacher at SN

1 of 4

Michelle Nicholas 1/4/19 n/a 4 years Staff Governor   Family Worker at SN 1 of 4
Domnic Riddex 1/9/19 n/a 4 years community Governor Curriculum none 1 of 4
Louise Smith 1/9/19 n/a 4 years community Governor Community  Class teacher at Edenbridge  1 of 4
Erin Trembley 21/1/20 n/a 4 years  parent governor Curriculum none 1 of 4
Anne Slade 21/9/20 n/a 4 years community Governor Health and Safety CFO at TPA 1 of 4
Daniel Bramble 1/7/21 n/a 4 years community Governor Assessment none 1 of 4
Kim Valentine 1/7/21 n/a 4 years community Governor SEND none 1 of 4

Date of School Board Meetings

20th September 2021

This is well thought out and carefully developed. Further details regarding the scheme of delegation and other key governance documents may be found on The Pioneer Academy Web Site:





Trust Board

Regional Board

School Boards

Executive Central Team

Head Teacher

To review and amend

The Articles of Association


To change the name of the Academy Trust


To receive an annual report from the Trustees and the CEO on the Academy Trust’s performance


To appoint Trustees


To determine the educational character, mission and ethos of the Academy Trust






To provide Trust overview, scrutiny and challenge of academy education, financial performance and risk management


To review and amend

  • The terms of reference for the Trust Board
  • The Constitution and Terms of Reference of Regional Boards and their sub committees
  • The Constitution and Terms of Reference of the School Boards
  • These roles and functions


To determine effective communication systems.


To determine the Board’s Reserved Matters.


To ensure the educational character, mission and ethos of the Academy Trust


To appoint a Trust Company Secretary


To appoint a Clerk to the Trustees


To review and approve the policies of the Academy Trust


Oversight and evaluation of the Strategic Plan


Determine statutory policies in accordance with Scheme of Delegation


To set the times of Academy sessions and the dates of Trust terms and holidays and INSET days

To provide Regional overview, scrutiny and challenge of academy education, financial performance and risk management


To support Regional and local contacts and communication with:

  • Chairs of School Board
  • Head Teachers


To ensure there is effective communication between the Trustees and the School Boards


To support the Chairs on the leadership of their respective School Boards


To consult with the School Boards on any governance proposals


Review and evaluate the schools Strategic Plan


Review and evaluate the SEF


To monitor the impact of the pupil premium in the Region



To champion the Trust mantra and principles in the schools and to ensure the wellbeing of all pupils


To ensure that the school has a medium to long-term vision for its future and that there is a robust strategy in place for achieving its vision


To recommend appointment(and to remove) from its number: Chair, Vice Chair and School Board Governors with specific responsibilities


To review and amend the school determined policies (in line with any Academy Trust prescribed policy)


To implement a means whereby the Academy can receive and react to pupil, parent and staff feedback


To establish and maintain a relationship with members of the local community


Monitor and evaluate the schools Strategic Plan


Monitor and evaluate the SEF


To monitor the impact of the pupil premium in the school


To ensure effective arrangements are in place for pupil support and representation at the School Councils

To attend meetings of the Regional Board to provide reports where necessary


To secure professional advice on behalf of the Trustees as maybe requested


To support Trustees and Schools in the preparation of Trust-wide and School specific policy requirements


Oversight and evaluation of the Strategic Plan


To implement and embed the educational character, mantra and principles in line with the Trust


To attend meetings of the School Board and to provide a Head Teacher’s report


To tailor Trust-wide policies to Schools as recommended by the Executive Team through the Head Teacher Board.


Prepare and monitor the School Development Plan


To ensure effective deployment of the Pupil Premium and to monitor its impact


Oversight and evaluation of the Strategic Plan