Governance Structure

Great Oak Multi Academy Trust

Great Oak Multi Academy Trust is structured in accordance with its Memorandum and Articles of Association. There are three levels of governance within Great Oak Multi Academy Trust: the Members, The Trust Board of Directors, and the governors who make up the Local Governing Body for each academy in the Trust.

Members

The Trust comprises 3 Members. The Members are accountable to the DfE and have ultimate responsibility for the Trust achieving its charitable objectives. They sign off the Articles of Association and have the power to appoint and remove the directors. The Members include representation from the Diocese of Chelmsford. The majority of the Members are independent of the directors to provide challenge and scrutiny to the Board.

Directors/Trustees

The directors set the strategic direction for the MAT and are accountable to the Secretary of State for the performance of the schools within it. This is set out in a legal document known as the ‘funding agreement’. As charity trustees, they must also ensure that they are complying with charity law requirements. High calibre directors are appointed for their skills, knowledge or experience as needed by the Board.

The Trust Board of Directors has three core functions:

            1          Ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction

            2          Holding the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) to account for the educational performance of the        

                        Trust schools and their pupils, and the performance management of staff

            3          Overseeing the financial performance of the schools and making sure its money is well spent

The Trust Board meets at least four times a year: the first meeting in the autumn to elect the Chair and agree the Scheme of Delegation whereby governance functions are delegated to governors and committees.

 

Audit and Risk Committee

The Trust Board has an Audit and Risk Committee which has the responsibility for monitoring the Trust’s overall financial condition. Their role includes monitoring the probity of the financial systems and monitoring expenditure for probity and value. The Audit and Risk committee membership includes 2 external members to enhance the scrutiny and challenge of its work; the committee meets 3 times per year and report their findings into the Trust Board meetings.

Local Governing Bodies

Each school within the MAT has its own local governing body (LGB) which is a committee of the Trust Board of Directors. Local governing bodies have the governance functions delegated to them by the Trust Board for their particular school and are accountable to the Board. 

Local Governing Bodies oversee different functions of the schools within the trust, including the monitoring of: School Improvement and Standards; Safeguarding; Premises and Health & Safety; Finance; Special Educational Needs; Early Years, Curriculum; Parent & Community links and Personnel. The details of the chair and members of the LGBs are available on each of the school websites.  To support their work each LGB has two committees: Finance and Premises; Teaching and Learning.

Our directors and local governors come from a wide variety of backgrounds; from finance, legal, corporate business and education, with representation from parents, the parish and the local community. The term of office of directors is four years, apart from the CEO who is ex-officio.

The governance structure in place within the MAT delegates the 'business' matters of running a school to the Trust Board and administrative team, enabling the Headteachers to focus on teaching, learning and school improvement. Systems are in place for centralised HR processes; financial planning and internal control; premises management; and the reporting and benchmarking of school performance data.

 

Great Oak Multi Academy Trust Members

 

Member

 

Date appointed

Date stepped down

Elizabeth Barker

Chair of Directors

06.09.2023

 

CDET

Chelmsford Diocese Board of Education

01.01.2017

 

Andrew Taylor

Chair of Directors

01.01.2017

 05.09.2023

Reverend Alex Jeewan

 CDET
Team Vicar for the Saffron Walden and Villages Team Ministry
04.05.2020  

 

Great Oak Multi Academy Trust Board of Directors

September 2023 - August 2024

 

Name

Type

Office

Term

Date stepped down

Number of possible Full Directors’ Meetings

Number of Full Directors’ Meetings attended

Member of Audit and Risk Committee

Elizabeth Barker

Appointed by Members

Chair

16/11/2026

 

3

3

 

 

Gary Benn

 

Foundation

 

31/08/2025

 

3

2

Yes 

Paul Gray

Appointed by Trust

   10/02/2026  

3

2

 Yes (Chair)

Alison Meadows

Appointed by Trust   12/05/2025  

3

3

 

Sarah Mitchell

CEO

 

CEO

Executive Headteacher

Ex-Officio

 

3

3

 

Wassim Mughal

Appointed by Members

 

03/09/2027

 

3

3

 Yes

Kate Porch

Appointed by Members

 

19/09/2027

 

2

2

 

Andrew Taylor

Foundation

 

31/08/2025

05/09/2023

0

0

 

 

Ursula Lyons   Audit and Risk Committee Independent member
Samantha Wilks   Audit and Risk Committee Independent member
 

Tom Bennett

 

Clerk to the Directors

 

Great Oak Multi Academy Trust Board of Directors

September 2022 - August 2023

 

Name

Type

Office

Term

Date stepped down

Number of possible Full Directors’ Meetings

Number of Full Directors’ Meetings attended

Member of Audit and Risk Committee

 

Gary Benn

 

Foundation

 

31/08/2025

 

5

3

Yes 

Paul Gray

Appointed by Trust

   10/02/2026  

5

5

 Yes (Chair)

Alison Meadows

Appointed by Trust   12/05/2025  

5

4

 

Sarah Mitchell

CEO

 

CEO

Executive Headteacher

Ex-Officio

 

5

5

 

Andrew Taylor

Foundation

Chair

31/08/2025

 

5

4

 

Elizabeth Barker

Appointed by Trust

 

16/11/2026

 

4

3

 

John Saxon

Appointed by Trust

 

03/05/2027

 31/08/23

2

1

 

 

Ursula Lyons   Audit and Risk Committee Independent member
Samantha Wilks   Audit and Risk Committee Independent member
 

Tom Bennett

 

Clerk to the Directors

 

 

Great Oak Multi Academy Trust Board of Directors

September 2021 - August 2022

 

Name

Type

Office

Term

Date stepped down

Number of possible Full Directors’ Meetings

Number of Full Directors’ Meetings attended

Andrew Armour

Foundation

 

31/08/2025

 31/08/2022

5

3

 

Gary Benn

 

Foundation

 

31/08/2025

 

5

3

Melissa Challinor

Foundation

 

31/08/2025

 31/08/2022

5

4

Paul Gray

Appointed by Trust

   11/02/2022  

3

1

Alison Meadows

Appointed by Trust   12/05/2025  

5

5

Sarah Mitchell

CEO

 

CEO

Executive Headteacher

Ex-Officio

 

5

5

Andrew Taylor

Foundation

Chair

31/08/2025

 

5

5

Liam Tobin

Appointed by Trust

 

03/09/2023

 18/07/2022

5

4

 

Tom Bennett

 

Clerk to the Directors

 

 

Great Oak Multi Academy Trust Board of Directors

September 2020 - August 2021

  

Name

Type

Office

Term

Date stepped down

Number of possible Full Directors’ Meetings

Number of Full Directors’ Meetings attended

Andrew Armour

Foundation

 

31/08/2025

 

5

3

 

Gary Benn

 

Foundation

 

31/08/2025

 

5

4

Melissa Challinor

Foundation

 

31/08/2025

 

5

5

 

John Luke

 

Foundation

 

31/08/2021

 31/08/2021

5

3

Sarah Mitchell

CEO

 

CEO

Executive Headteacher

Ex-Officio

 

5

5

Andrew Taylor

Foundation

Chair

31/08/2025

 

5

4

Liam Tobin

Appointed by Trust

 

03/09/2023

 

5

4

Alison Meadows

Appointed by Trust

 

12/05/2025

   1

  

Tom Bennett

Clerk to the Directors

 

Great Oak Multi Academy Trust Board of Directors

September 2019 - August 2020

  

Name

Type

Office

Term

Date stepped down

Number of possible Full Directors’ Meetings

Number of Full Directors’ Meetings attended

Andrew Armour

Foundation

 

23/12/2020

 

4

4

 

Gary Benn

 

Foundation

 

23/12/2020

 

4

3

David Boatman

Foundation

Vice Chair

23/12/2020

 12/6/2020

3

3

Melissa Challinor

Foundation

 

23/12/2020

 

4

4

 

John Luke

 

Foundation

 

23/12/2020

 

4

3

Sarah Mitchell

CEO

 

CEO

Executive Headteacher

Ex-Officio

 

4

4

Andrew Taylor

Foundation

Chair

23/12/2020

 

4

4

Liam Tobin

Foundation

 

3/09/2023

 

4

4

  

Tom Bennett

Clerk to the Directors

 

  

Great Oak Multi Academy Trust Board of Directors

September 2018 - August 2019

  

Name

Type

Office

Term

Date stepped down

Number of possible Full Directors’ Meetings

Number of Full Directors’ Meetings attended

Andrew Armour

Foundation

 

23/12/2020

 

4

4

 

Gary Benn

 

Foundation

 

23/12/2020

 

4

3

David Boatman

Foundation

Vice Chair

23/12/2020

 

4

3

Melissa Challinor

Foundation

 

23/12/2020

 

4

3

 

John Luke

 

Foundation

 

23/12/2020

 

4

2

Sarah Mitchell

CEO

 

CEO

Executive Headteacher

Ex-Officio

 

4

4

Andrew Taylor

Foundation

Chair

23/12/2020

 

4

4

 

 

Tom Bennett

Clerk to the Directors

 

 

Great Oak Multi Academy Trust Board of Directors

September 2017 - August 2018

  

Name

Type

Office

Term

Date stepped down

Number of possible Full Directors’ Meetings

Number of Full Directors’ Meetings attended

Andrew Armour

Foundation

 

23/12/2020

 

5

5

Gary Benn

 

Foundation

 

23/12/2020

 

5

4

David Boatman

Foundation

Vice Chair

23/12/2020

 

5

4

Melissa Challinor

Foundation

 

23/12/2020

 

5

4

Joanna Grandfield

Foundation

 

23/12/2020

 11/09/2017

N/A

 

Lisa Jeremy

Foundation

 

23/12/2020

 16/05/2018

3

3

John Luke

 

Foundation

 

23/12/2020

 

5

3

Sarah Mitchell

CEO

 

CEO

Executive Headteacher

Ex-Officio

 

5

5

Andrew Taylor

Foundation

Chair

23/12/2020

 

5

5

 

 

Tom Bennett

Clerk to the Directors

 

Former Members

 

Date appointed

Date stepped down

Reverend Canon David Tomlinson

CDET

Team Rector, Saffron Walden

1.1.2017

 30.11.2019

Reverend Timothy Elbourne

Diocese

Diocesan Director of Education, Chelmsford

 

1.1.2017

 31.01.22

School Street, Great Chesterford, Saffron Walden, Essex, CB10 1NN 01799 530292 admin@greatchesterford.essex.sch.uk