Academy Committee

The East Manchester Academy’s Local Academy Committee (LAC) is represented by numerous members of the community. Governors are an important part of our school community and provide essential critical support.

Terms of Reference (September 2023)

To be reviewed annually at Autumn Term meeting.

Core Purpose

The Local Academy Committee is an important conduit between key stakeholders and the Trust Board.

The core function of the committee is to secure a sound basis for accelerated current and future improvement in the school and its governance. This includes the promotion of high standards of educational achievement, personal development and safeguarding for all.

The committee will deliver systematic review of the academy’s action plan relating to the identified areas for improvement from the most recent Section 5 Ofsted inspection report.


The membership of the committee will continue to focus predominantly upon key educational areas and will be supported in its development by the Chief Executive Officer.

The committee shall meet usually half term and report to the Trust Board. Additional reporting may also be required to the Department for Education and/or the Office of the Regional Schools Commissioner. Information about the committee members and the work of the committee will be made available on the school website. Membership of the committee is currently as follows:

  • Fiona O’Sullivan – Chair and designated safeguarding lead member
  • Phil Beswick – Vice Chair
  • Alan Braven – Designated SEND Lead member
  • Maureen Hughes – Co-opted member
  • Janet Doherty

The CEO will attend these meetings and participates in review activity.

The Trustees retain the right to appoint to the Local Academy Committee from time to time, as they see fit, and to constitute the committee according to the specific need arising. They further retain the right to vary the terms of reference of an individual Local Academy Committee depending on the performance or priorities of any academy for which the Trust has responsibility. Election of the Chair/Vice of the Local Academy should be overseen and confirmed by the Board of Trustees.


In carrying out its role, the Local Academy Committee will aim to be competent and accountable, promoting and upholding high standards of conduct, probity and ethics.

  • All governors must sign up to the Trust’s Code of Governance
  • The Chair will be approved by the Trust for a period of one year. The election of Chair should take place every year unless instructed otherwise by the Trust
  • The term of office for all governors will be four years
  • The Local Academy Committee will meet at least once per term
  • The quorum will be 3 members (2 of which must not be academy employees)
  • The Local Academy Committee will establish procedures for dealing with conflicts of interests and annually complete the register of interests
  • The Local Academy Committee will ensure DBS compliance for governors is in place
  • The Local Academy Committee will conduct an annual skills and capacity audit to ensure its ongoing efficacy and will advise the Trust Board on any shortages and training needs
  • The Local Academy Committee will review its own development and performance on an annual basis
  • The Chair (or agreed member of the Local Academy Committee) will support and ensure an effective flow of information between the LAC and the Chair of Trustees/CEO to the Trust Board as required
  • The Trust Board may invite such people as it sees fit to provide information and advice to the Local Academy Committee

The Trust will support all Local Academy Committees by:

  • Setting a clear strategic vision for the Trust which allows the Local Academy Committee to achieve its own aims and objectives within that vision
  • Ensuring systems are in place to allow for the timely scrutiny of clear and consistent data so that the Local Academy Committee can challenge and support the academy’s senior leadership team
  • Ensuring all governors have access to appropriate training
  • Enabling regular (at least termly) and systematic communication between Chairs and the Trust Board (for example via the Chairs Network and Performance Board) which enables effective information transfer across both groups
  • Inviting their members to attend and contribute to the Annual General Meeting of members and review of Trust activity and impact


The Academy Committee will fulfil its responsibilities through the following sets of activities:

  1. Ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction through:

    • Supporting academy leaders to sustain alignment with the Trust’s vision and values while having their own, distinctive school identity
    • Working closely with the Trust, the Department of Education, the office of the Regional Schools Commissioner and the Local Authority to secure the success of the academy
    • Agreeing targets for school improvement with particular reference to areas for improvement identified in the most recent inspection report
    • Overseeing the effectiveness of academy leadership and management
    • Supporting the CEO in the line management and appraisal of the headteacher
    • Reviewing the extent to which the staffing structure of the academy supports improvement needs effectively and is financially viable
    • Supporting the academy’s leadership team in ensuring that all staff, teaching and non-teaching, meet the expected standards of professional performance
    • Participating in the process to appoint any new Headteacher, working with the CEO
    • Championing the relationship between the academy and the community and acting as a conduit for communication
    • Promoting the benefits of collaboration with the other academies in the Trust
    • Reviewing the academy website periodically to assess the quality of communication and the extent to which statutory information is published as required
    • Advising and reporting on to Trustees and the CEO on the implementation of the action plan, identifying and communicating any additional support which may need Trust authorisation, for example significant capital funding
  2. Acting as a critical friend to senior leaders and holding the Headteacher to account for the educational performance of the academy and its students through:

    • Providing challenge and support to the Headteacher and senior leaders – including finance, discipline (student) and HR (including staff disciplinary or competence) support needed to effect change and secure improvement
    • Monitoring performance against targets set for academy development/improvement through a range of evidence, including receiving regular information from the Headteacher and senior leaders on the performance of all aspects of the academy
    • Visiting the academy during the working day, where possible and appropriate, to carry out assurance activities (such as student, staff and parent feedback), work with leaders and identify any further strategies and support needed
    • Monitoring the quality of provision and standards of achievement of all students within the academy – particularly for SEND and other vulnerable students
    • Monitoring academy self-evaluation and satisfying itself as to the accuracy of this
    • Monitoring the effectiveness of safeguarding in the academy and passing on any concerns to the Chair of Trustees and CEO
    • Monitoring the attendance and behaviour of students
    • Monitoring the implementation of key Trust policies and resultant impact on standards and provision
    • Having a safeguarding governor and SEND governor to work with academy leaders and monitor the effectiveness of these areas
    • Supporting the academy in responding to complaints, as described in relevant policy
    • Participating in HR procedures, such as disciplinary appeals, as described in the relevant policies
    • Acting as governor panels/committees in matters of student attendance or behaviour procedures, for example in exclusion appeals and panels
    • Participating in and supporting with recruitment procedures where appropriate
    • Ensuring that any funds delegated to the academy are safeguarded and their use is astutely and appropriately directed to address the requirements of the action plan and to meet student needs
    • Monitoring Health and Safety in the academy and action needed to address concerns arising
    • Supporting academy and Trust leaders in considering estate management and any building works needed to improve the quality of provision and safeguarding for staff and students
    • Monitoring the quality of communication between the academy and parents/carers
    • Communicating clearly to the Trust Board any questions, concerns and requests
  3. Overseeing the financial performance of the academy and its management of risks through:

    • Ensuring that the academy complies with the Trust’s Financial Scheme of Delegation
    • Considering the extent to which the devolved budget is sufficient to meet the needs of the academy and raising any concerns with the Trust Board when these occur
    • Exploring the extent to which the allocated budget is used effectively to raise standards for students and meet needs
    • Working with senior leaders to review regularly the academy risk register and establish the impact of controls and mitigations
    • Considering capital spending plans and their likely impact on provision or Health and Safety and the fabric of the site
    • Evaluating any requests for additional funding and liaising with the Trust Finance, Audit and Risk Committee and Trust’s Chief Finance and Operations Officer to evaluate and communicate such requests
    • Monitoring the impact of Pupil Premium funding and any other specific grants/monies received
    • Receiving and discussing Health & Safety reports

Conduct of the Academy Committee

  • The Academy Committee will conduct its business in an open and transparent way, though meetings are closed and attendance is by invite only
  • The Academy Committee will have due regard to the Equalities Act in the performance of any duty or function
  • The Academy Committee is a corporate body and consequently no individual has the power to act alone, unless delegated to do so by the Academy Committee
  • Individual members of the Academy Committee must respect confidentiality. It is for the Academy Committee to determine which parts of meetings, and the associated minutes, should remain confidential. Serious breaches of confidentiality may result in the GMET removing an individual member from the Academy Committee
  • The Academy Committee will act in accordance with the terms of the Trust funding agreement, Articles of Association and current Academies Handbook in the performance of any duty or function
  • All dialogue with press agencies will be through Manchester City Council Press Office and through the headteacher and chair of the Academy Committee. No member of the Academy Committee should have contact otherwise with press agencies, unless authorised by the chair and the chair of the Trust Board
  • The meetings will be professionally clerked. The clerk will also be bound by confidentiality and will be required to sign the Governance Code of Conduct

Committee Attendance at Meetings

Contact the Local Academy Committee

If parents/carers wish to contact the Local Academy Committee, please route any enquiry or written correspondence (addressed private and confidential) to Mrs F. O’Sullivan, Chair of Local Academy Committee, via the academy. Alternatively, email

Academy Committee Meeting Documents and Minutes

In accordance with the Academy Trust Handbook, Greater Manchester Education Trust will make available for public inspection:

  • The agenda for every meeting of the academy committee and sub-committees
  • The approved minutes of each meeting
  • Any report, document or other paper considered at each meeting

For further information, please contact Greater Manchester Education Trust.

About the Local Academy Committee

Fiona O’Sullivan

Fiona has 20 years’ experience as a senior leader in secondary schools, a sixth form college and a school improvement service across four Greater Manchester authorities. Until 2018 she was Principal of Oasis Academy Media CityUK and led it from special measures to achieve a ‘Good’ Ofsted rating within two years. She now holds positions as school improvement advisor and professional chair of governors for two other large multi academy trusts.

  • Office Term: 02/10/23 – 02/10/27
  • Business and Pecuniary Interests: Sole Trader, Fiona O’Sullivan School Improvement – Consultancy since February 2019

Phil Beswick

Phil was the Director of Education for Stockport until his retirement in 2018. Prior to this he had a successful career both as a headteacher and a school improvement officer. He was Head of School Improvement for Stockport before he became the Director of Education. He has worked on many national education projects and currently sits on the Greater Manchester Education and Employability Board.

  • Office Term: 02/10/23 – 02/10/27
  • Business and Pecuniary Interests: Phil Beswick Educational Consultancy, Education Consultant/Director since August 2020

Alan Braven

Alan is the Executive Headteacher of the Endeavour Federation which provides education for young people with social, emotional and mental health needs. He has over 25 years’ experience of school leadership both in special and mainstream schools.

  • Office Term: 02/10/23 – 02/10/27
  • Business and Pecuniary Interests: North Ridge High School, Governor, 2022. Endeavour Federation, Executive Hedteacher & Governor, 2012

Maureen Hughes

My name is Maureen and I am the proud headteacher of Ravensbury Community School in East Manchester. Ravensbury is a richly diverse school at the heart of its community, where different languages, cultures and religions learn together in harmony. I have spent my entire teaching career, of 33 years, in East Manchester, the last 4 years as a headteacher at Ravensbury, driving school improvement since the school’s last Ofsted inspection, taking it from good to outstanding. I am passionate about ensuring the children in this part of our City have the best educational opportunities possible, both academically and socially and emotionally.

  • Office Term: 02/10/23 – 02/10/27
  • Business and Pecuniary Interests: No relevant interests to declare

Janet Doherty

An English and Drama teacher, Janet worked as a senior leader in secondary education until 2003 before moving into LA School Improvement serving as Director and Assistant Director of Education in two Northern councils. As an independent school leadership consultant, Janet’s clients included a range of mainstream and special schools across all ages and phases, academies and MATs and council school improvement and SEN services in Wigan, Oldham, Sheffield and Bolton. Janet spent a year as the Associate Headteacher of a secondary special school in Bolton before being appointed as the Headteacher of Manchester Hospital School in April 2017.

Janet is one of the founding Directors of the National Association for Hospital Education ( and is a Director of the Manchester Schools Alliance.

Janet facilitates the NPQH programme for Best Practice and the NPQSL for Teach First. Janet also assesses on the leadership NPQs including the NPQEH.

  • Office Term: 02/10/23 – 02/10/27
  • Business and Pecuniary Interests: Teach First/Bright Futures – Education – Facilitator on NPQ courses – Headteacher, Manchester Hospital School, DIY Theatre, partner is artisitic director 01.04.17

Stepped Down

Sharon Gardner

  • Office Term: 11/10/21 – 21/09/23 (date stepped down)
  • Business and Pecuniary Interests: Manchester City Council, Children and Education Services, SSQA, employee 2018
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