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Governance

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A message from the leader of our Trust, our Chair of Members:

I am very proud to have been a part of the Trust’s journey over the years and feel passionately that one of the most important ways for the Trust to thrive is through excellent governance.

The local governing bodies (LABs) set the tone and policies for the school, and ensure the school is going in the right direction. We pride ourselves on recruiting good quality governors who can use their expertise, so we co-opt governors where they have the skills that can add value for the whole school and, in turn, the Trust. I am excited to see where the next few years take us, but we can only fulfil our mission by working together, with the support of our outstanding team of volunteer LAB members, Trustees and Board Members.

Ned Solanki MBE

Chair of Members, Vantage Academy Trust

Expert Governing Team

We are proud of the expert governing team at Vantage Academy Trust, to ensure best practise and accountability our governance is organised into three key layers, with our Members Board sitting at the top; as a charitable company, our Trust Members Board ensure that they comply with charity and Company law requirements.

Our Trustees sit below the Members Board and are responsible for the strategic priorities of the Trust. On a local level, Local Advisory boards (LABs) hold each school Principal to account for what is delivered in each academy.

Members

The Trust Members are responsible for setting the vision of the Trust, amending the Articles of Association, appointing Members/Trustees and removing Trustees. Members hold Trustees to account for the effective running of the Trust.

Ned Solanki, MBE - Chair of Members

Ned has been a school governor for over 10 years and was Chair of SS Simon and Jude CEPS, leading the school from special measures to outstanding under Ofsted. He was appointed as an NLG in 2014 and has worked with a number of schools across the region, and is now also a governor at St Mary’s Hawkshaw, Bury. An IT manager for an international company, he deals with high value clients across the UK and works in the area of Cyber Security.

Mark Cowling - Rector of Seven Saints

Mark is the Rector of Seven Saints Parish, which serves SS Simon and Jude Church. He is heavily committed to youth work and improving the life chances of the most deprived. He is also a children’s author, using the power of the written word to engage and inform primary age pupils.

Ian Tomkin - Diocesan Board of Education

Ian is one of the Assistant Directors of Education in the Manchester Diocese. After a long career in industry, he is now responsible for buildings, estates and finance; he manages the provision of places, grant aid and sales of land. He is a member of the Seven Saints PCC and is now Vice Chair of the Bishop Frazier Trust, which includes the Outstanding St James’ High School and Cannon Slade High School.

Phil Mason - Chair of Trustees

Phil is the Head of the Bolton Wanderers Community Trust, Club Chaplain and Senior Safeguarding Manager. In addition, he is the Chair of Bolton Christian Community Cohesion, the Strategic leadership group for Sport and Physical Activity, the Voluntary & Community Sector Forum and the vice Chair of Bolton Community and Voluntary Services. He represents the Voluntary Sector on the Active,  Connected and Prosperous Board for Bolton and in 2017 received an honorary Doctorate from the University of Bolton for outstanding services to the community. Phil has been a school Governor for over 20 years. He acted as Vice Chair of Trustees for 3 years before being appointed Chair in 2017.

John Critchley - Finance

Prior to retiring, John was a Director of Finance and Resources within the NHS. He is a former Diocesan Education Board Governor and local school governor, Member and past chairman of Bolton le Moors Round Table and 41 Club, 1970 – to present, and member of the Liverpool Anglican Cathedral Choristers Guild.

Trustees

The Trustees are appointed with the skill set and expertise to take responsibility for the strategic priorities of the Trust  and implementing the vision and ethos set by the members. At board meetings, Trustees have oversight of financial performance, agree targets for pupil achievement and monitor progress of schools. They hold executive leaders accountable for standards and performance of employees and review the performance and pay of school Principals and Chief Executive Officers, in conjunction with Chairs of Local Advisory Boards.

Phil Mason - Chair, Third Sector

Phil Mason

Phil is the Head of the Bolton Wanderers Community Trust, Club Chaplain and Senior Safeguarding Manager. In addition, he is the Chair of Bolton Christian Community Cohesion, the Strategic leadership group for Sport and Physical Activity, the Voluntary & Community Sector Forum and the vice Chair of Bolton Community and Voluntary Services. He represents the Voluntary Sector on the Active,  Connected and Prosperous Board for Bolton and in 2017 received an honorary Doctorate from the University of Bolton for outstanding services to the community. Phil has been a school Governor for over 20 years. He acted as Vice Chair of Trustees for 3 years before being appointed Chair in 2017.

Rob Dean - Education/Standards
Rob Dean

Rob has been a head teacher for eight years at St Thomas Chequerbent. Moving the school from Ofsted satisfactory to good and, last year, achieving 94% ARE combined in KS2 and so putting St Thomas in the top 10% of schools nationally. He represents head teachers on the LA executive board and is Chair of the Policy and Resources Consultation Group, and sits on the Schools Forum. He was previously an Advisory Teacher for ICT in a BECTA award winning team.

Andrew Gibson - Risk/Insurance

Managing Director of Mason Owen Financial Services Ltd, a Chartered Insurance Broking firm based in Liverpool and Chair of the Board of Trustees of Merseyside Youth Association Ltd, serving committee member of the British Insurance Brokers Association (BIBA) at both national and regional level and current Chair of the BIBA industry claims working group. Church Warden and Treasurer of St Catherine’s Anglican/Methodist Church in Farnworth, Bolton.

Diane Vaukins - Education/ITT

Diane is a former primary school senior leader and teacher trainer. She was the Senior Lecturer/Partnership Tutor at University of Cumbria ITT programme, becoming Director of School Engagement and then moving to Director of London Programmes, where she set up the ITT hub for the University. She is currently an associate Tutor at Lancaster and Buckingham Universities.

Martin Whittle - Buildings

Business Development Manager at John Turner Construction Group Ltd. A chartered surveyor of over 25 years, Martin has overseen a number of education projects, including whole school construction and refurbishment and is a school governor with over 10 years’ experience. Martin was recently co-opted to ensure our free school builds and the extension of St James’ are correctly monitored and delivered.

Michael Parkinson - Legal

Michael is a solicitor and works for Browne Jacobson in their Manchester office, he is part of the education team at the firm. He specialises in commercial property work, both in the public and private sector. Michael advises local authorities, educational bodies and general commercial clients in a variety of freehold and leasehold transactions.

Phil Deakin - Finance

Phil is the Finance Director of the Healthy Schools Trust, having previously worked at St Catherine’s Academy in Bolton. He holds accountancy qualifications and also serves as a member of the Manchester Diocese Finance and General Purposes Committee.

Local Advisory Boards

The main focus of the Local Advisory Boards is to hold individual schools and school leaders to account for school standards, behaviour, quality of teaching and safety of pupils. They set clear expectations, monitor and review progress and achievement for pupils and ensure that school spending represents good value for public money. They monitor and review the quality of teaching and learning, considering feedback from both parents and pupils and ensure that pupils are properly safeguarded. The chairs of all LABs are invited to attend Trustees meetings and present on key local issues, when appropriate.

Chair of Governors 

Maureen Kennedy

Maureen Kennedy

Gorton

Ned Solanki

Ned Solanki

(Acting Chair) Knowsley Lane

Alex Johnson

Alex Johnson

SS Simon and Jude

Margaret Woodhouse

Margaret Woodhouse

St Augustine's

Nicola Clinton

Nicola Clinton

St Barnabas

Ross Malkin

Ross Malkin

St Hilda's

Maureen Kennedy

Maureen Kennedy

St James'

Diane Martindale

Diane Martindale

St Paul's

Paul Maryon

Paul Maryon

Willow Tree

Trustee Attendance