ATLP and Hill West Governance

In late 2021, The Arthur Terry Learning Partnership concluded a review of its governance practice and structures across the Partnership and its individual schools. The primary focus on improving information flows as the ATLP grows and clearly defining the role of local school governance, which up to this point has been provided through Local Governing Bodies. As the governance needs have changed over the last five years, particularly due to impact of the pandemic and the ongoing centralisation of many functions previously managed by individuals schools, the Trust Boards objective was to find a new way to maintain strong, meaningful links with ATLP schools and their communities. The new governance structure to be adopted in the 2022-23 Academic year supports this ethos with the introduction of the Governance and Consultation Network alongside the introduction of local School Advocates, whom will provide specialist and targeted support in an advisory capacity to their school/group of schools and the Trust as a whole.

Each ATLP school / group of schools will be supported by 4 talented individuals, each of whom will provide advice and assistance in one of the specific areas listed below:

• Safeguarding

• Vulnerable Children

• Community engagement

• Support and Challenge

The introduction of the advocate roles and their associated trust-wide committees will replace the historic local school governor role and local governing bodies, and place a renewed emphasis on collective improvement and excellence across our family of schools. Through introducing specific responsibilities and remits for each advocate role, and as a result of advocates liaising with both their local school and their skillset peers in advocate committees; local schools and ATLP as a whole will benefit from increased communication opportunities between the Board and local levels to improve informed decision-making processes.

Hill West is currently seeking people to work with us as our school Advocates. We are looking for people who are excited to help us deliver the very best for our children, their families and our community. Advocates will be appointed for a term of 4 years and work closely with the school leadership to advance the opportunities for students and their schools, and help ensure the school is as strong as it can be. The roles require a time commitment of approximately 30-40 hours per year, broken down into meeting attendance, preparation, email/telephone communications and training.

Working together is about better teaching and a broader curriculum for pupils; greater leadership and development opportunities for teachers; and more efficiency and impact from financial and other resources. These benefits are most fully realised when school-to-school collaboration is consolidated through formalised cross-school governance arrangements. When boards govern a group of schools we also then see further improvement in the quality of governance – as boards gain a more strategic perspective. All boards, however many schools they govern, need people with skills appropriate to the scale and nature of their role; and no more people than they need to have all the necessary skills to be effective.

(John Nash, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Schools, January 2017).