Unity Schools Partnership


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Strong governance is an essential element in achieving our aim of outstanding academies. Our governance structure ensures robust monitoring of strategy, systems and procedures and policies, which ensures the highest levels of support for our schools – making remarkable change happen.

Our Governance Structure

The Trust Board

The members of the trust have a different status to trustees. The members appoint trustees to ensure that the trust’s charitable object is carried out and so must be able to remove trustees if they fail to fulfil this responsibility. Members are responsible for approving any amendments made to the trust’s Articles of Association. In order to retain a degree of separation of powers between the members and the trust board, and in line with DfE expectations, the chair of the trust board is the only trustee who is also a member. Members are not permitted to be employees of the academy trust.

Name of MemberAppointed byFrom
Lesley Christine BirchAppointed by academy members11/12/2017
Paul MarshallAppointed by academy members11/12/2017
Christine QuinnAppointed by academy members15/07/2020
Mike Gee
(Represents our Member CDET)
Appointed by academy members18/12/23

The trustees are the charity trustees (within the terms of section 177(1) of the Charities Act 2011) and are responsible for the general control and management of the administration of the trust in accordance with the provisions set out in the Memorandum and Articles of Association. The board of trustees is the accountable body for the performance of all schools within the trust and as such must: – Ensure clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction – Hold the executive to account for the educational performance of the schools and their pupils, and the performance management of staff – Oversee the financial performance of the trust and make sure its money is well spent. Because trustees are bound by both charity and company law, the terms ‘trustees’ and ‘directors’ are often used interchangeably. We use the term trustee as it avoids the possible confusion caused when executive leaders are called directors but are not company directors and trustees.

Name of TrusteeAppointed byFromTo
Andrew WillettAppointed by board04/02/202003/02/2024
Lloyd Spencer-WhitcombAppointed by academy members04/02/202003/02/2024
Laura BarbrookAppointed by academy members08/05/201908/05/2023
Gordon D S JonesAppointed by academy members01/04/201901/04/2023
Ian D JacobsAppointed by academy members01/04/201901/04/2023
Dean Patrick SykesAppointed by academy members18/10/202117/10/2025
Tim John CoulsonAppointed by board01/07/2017
Roger Edward Quince Appointed by academy members18/10/202117/10/2025
Christine Quinn
Appointed by academy members03/07/202002/07/2024
Appointed Chair by board15/07/2020
Janet MorrisAppointed by academy members15/09/202114/09/2025

The Chief Executive has the delegated responsibility for the operation of the trust including the performance of the trust’s academies and so manages the academy headteachers. The Chief Executive is the accounting officer so has overall responsibility for the operation of the academy trust’s financial responsibilities and must ensure that the organisation is run with financial effectiveness and stability; avoiding waste and securing value for money. The Chief Executive leads the executive management team of the academy trust and will delegate executive management functions to the executive management team and is accountable to the trust board for the performance of the executive management team.

Name of DirectorRole/Responsibility
Dr Tim CoulsonChief Executive Officer
Sarah GarnerDeputy CEO & Director of Finance & HR
Darren WoodwardExecutive Director of Primary
Matthew FullerDirector of Primary
Toni KittleDirector of Primary
Gemma FrostDirector of Primary
Stephen AstleyExecutive Director of Secondary
Rosemary PrinceDirector of Secondary Education
Debbie WillsonDirector of Operations
Andy SamwaysDirector of Unity Research School
Lucie CalowDirector of SEND
George EllisDirector of SEND
Nick FroyDirector of Secondary
Angela BullDirector of HR
Lisa TaylorTrust Secretary

Past Members & Trustees

The list below is compiled of Members and Trustees that have served in the last 12 months and who are no longer serving.

Name of Member or TrusteeRoleAppointed byFromTo
Tim ElbourneMemberMembers01/04/18Resigned 21/09/2021
Nick JenkinsTrusteeMembers08/05/19Resigned 15/01/2021
Michael ParishChair of TrusteesMembers14/06/17Resigned 28/03/2020
John SmithNon-Executive DirectorMembers22/11/17Resigned 04/02/2020
Mark Spencer EllisRepresented our Member CDETMembers10/02/22Resigned

Trust Committees

Audit & Risk CommitteeLaura Barbrook (Chair)
Roger Quince
Ian Jacobs
The Committee will provide an independent and objective view of the Trust’s internal control environment and the systems and processes by which the Trust leads, directs and controls its functions in order to achieve organisational objectives.
Terms of Reference
Finance CommitteeAndrew Willet (Chair)
Gordon Jones
Christine Quinn
The Committee will provide an independent and objective view of the Trust’s responsibility and accountabilities highlighted within the Articles of Association, Academies Financial Handbook and the Trust Scheme of Delegation.
Terms of Reference
People CommitteeLloyd Spencer Witcomb (Chair)
Vicki Badham
Gordon Jones
Dean Sykes
Ruth Dickens

The Committee will agree with the Board the framework or broad policy for the remuneration of the Trust’s chief executive and the board directors, plus any other designated senior executives, in line with the Trust’s agreed strategic objectives and priorities.
Terms of Reference
Standards CommitteeChristine Quinn (Chair)
Ian Jacobs
Roger Quince
Terms of Reference
Safeguarding Monitoring CommitteeIan Jacobs (Chair)
Lloyd Spencer Witcomb
Roger Quince
The Committee has responsibility for monitoring the Trust’s safeguarding culture and practice across its schools, ensuring compliance with law, guidance and advice.

The Committee will assist the Board to fulfil their strategic leadership responsibility for schools’ safeguarding arrangements, ensuring that they comply with their duties under legislation. These include ensuring policies, procedures and training are effective and comply with the law at all times.
Terms of Reference

Our Local Governing Bodies

The role of the Local Governing Bodies (LGBs) has evolved, particularly in the past two years, and governors are now focusing more on the quality of education and the curriculum to ensure that every child is receiving a broad and balanced education, improving outcomes for all pupils, and wider community engagement.

We develop and support our governing bodies so that they can competently discharge their three core strategic functions:

  • Ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction
  • Holding the headteacher to account for the educational performance of the academy and its pupils
  • Overseeing the financial performance of the academy and making sure its money is well spent

The relationship between each academy and the trust is clearly defined through Terms of Reference and Scheme of Delegation. They provide clear lines of responsibility and accountability and help governors on Local Governing Bodies (LGBs) focus on what really matters – performance and achievement in the classroom.

We expect our governors to uphold and promote the trust’s core values.

Unity Values

We have a structured approach to holding governance reviews that show what governors are doing well and identify the support and training that they need.

Our induction training provides all governors with a clear idea of what good governance means to the trust and how they can fulfil this important role.