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Governing Board

The First Federation Trust Board of Directors



There is one board of directors which is the governing body for all the schools within the First Federation Trust.

The 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 its staff; and

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

The board of directors recognises that the CEO is responsible for the implementation of policy, day-to-day management of the Trust schools and the implementation of the curriculum.

The board of directors meets four times a year: in September to elect the Chair and agree principles of delegation, and then at the end of each term.



There are up to eleven positions on the board: the CEO, six foundation directors, and up to four co-opted directors. Directors are appointed as follows:

  • Foundation directors: five positions appointed by EDEN (Exeter Diocesan Network of Education) and one position appointed by Salisbury DBE (Diocesan Board of Education). EDEN and Salisbury DBE are both Foundation Members of the First Federation Trust. 
  • Co-opted directors: appointed by the directors

There are parent hub council members from each school on each hub board. 



There are currently three main committees of the board of directors with delegated power: the Education committee, the Strategic & Finance Committee and the Audit Committee.

The Education committee meets half termly and focus on school improvement, curriculum and inclusion. Its remit is:

  • To regularly review the success of the Trust strategic plan and the schools school improvement plans with a particular focus on outcomes for vulnerable children, and to plan for the year ahead.
  • To monitor the progress and impact of the Maths, English, Pupil Premium and Assessments projects.
  • To review the leadership and governance structures of the Trust to ensure they are still fit for purpose and make recommendations for appropriate changes to the board of directors
  • To consider recommendations made by the hub / transition boards and act on the key points raised by them.
  • To review the yearly cycle of decision making for recommendation to the board of directors.
  • To ensure that the Trust educational/child-related policies comply with statutory requirements
  • To ensure that the necessary structure is in place to implement safeguarding policies and procedures, and to monitor their effectiveness.

 The Strategic & Finance committee meets half termly and focus on strategic planning and resources. Its remit is:

  • To plan for the year ahead, ensuring resources are used and targeted appropriately.

  • To review the leadership and governance structures of the Trust to ensure they are still fit for purpose and make recommendations for appropriate changes to the board of directors, in particular to ensure directors have the right standards to achieve a good level of financial health and resources management, in the line with the ESFA school resource management self-assessment tool. 

  • To act on requests from schools interested in joining the Trust, ensure due diligence is conducted and make recommendations to the board of directors as to the expected impact on the Trust in accordance with the agreed growth policy.

  • To review the yearly cycle of decision making for recommendation to the board of directors.

  • To establish and review a governance code of conduct.

  • To ensure that Trust non educational/non child related policies comply with statutory requirements.

  • To monitor Finance, Personnel and Health & Safety matters and ensure they fit with the strategic plan for the First Federation Trust and that resources are deployed efficiently

  • To establish and review a code of conduct for the board of directors
  • To act ensure value for money
  • To offer additional support to the Chief Executive Officer on difficult and sensitive issues

The Audit committee meets termly and focus on internal scrutiny and risk management. Its remit is:

  • To act as the Audit Committee for the trust, as defined by the Academies Financial Handbook
  • To liaise with external and internal auditors, in particular to agree an appropriate programme of internal scrutiny and ensure recommendations from audit reports are implemented. 
  • To ensure information that affects funding submitted by the Trust to the DfE and ESFA is accurate and in compliance with the funding criteria
  • To report to the board of directors on significant audit matters. 


There are three other committees of the board of directors with delegated powers – the Admissions Committee, the Pupil/Staff Discipline Committee and the Appeals Committee – which meet as needed.


Hub Boards

Hub boards have delegated responsibilities but no delegated powers. Their remit is as follows:

Educational performance:

  • To support and challenge senior education leaders for the educational performance of the hub schools and the progress made against the school specific improvement priorities;
  • To monitor and evaluate the agreed intent, implementation and impact  of the schools' curriculum, and to consider evidence about how effectively the curriculum is achieving its aims for pupils;
  • To review detailed pupils’ progress and attainment data for the schools, and how they compare with national and Trust targets and with local, regional and national averages, for the whole schools and for specific sub-groups of pupils (e.g. Pupil Premium Children and SEN children);
  • To assess the impact of the Trust internal consistencies/non negotiables on school improvement, including the quality of teaching, pupils’ academic and personal development, pupils’ behaviour, pupils’ attendance and pupils' welfare (including safeguarding arrangements).

Ethos and and links with parents and the community:

  • To review parental and community engagement;
  • Where appropriate, to monitor how Church schools are maintaining and developing their Christian distinctiveness;
  • To monitor formal parent complaints.

Risk management:

  • To monitor the risk register for the hub, identify any significant changes / additional to be made to the risk registers and how/whether these can be mitigated.


  • To report on the above to the Education and/or Audit committee, highlighting key issues, risks and successes, and making recommendations where appropriate.


Local Governance Committees

These are for schools that wish to retain a local governance body and/or which the board believes would benefit from having a local governance body. They have delegated responsibilities but no delegated powers. Their role is to assess the impact of the school's membership of the Trust on pupils' academic & personal development and behaviour, the curriculum and the quality of teaching & learning, and to engage with local stakeholders and provide a link from the local community. They report to the hub board, highlighting any issues and making recommendations where appropriate. 


Advisory groups

Advisory groups are used to inform and support the work of the board. They are not committees of the board of directors. 

Ethos and Community groups: one for each Trust school, composed of children, staff and members of the community, supported by the foundation directors, who help support the ethos of each school and the Christian distinctiveness of our Church schools

Parent Council: one for the Trust, composed from at least one parent elected from each Trust school.


Scheme of delegation

The document below summarises the governance structure of the Trust and incorporate the scheme of delegation agreed by the board during their first meeting of the year. 

Please note that during the period of schools' closure and partial opening during 2019-20, the board varied the scheme of delegation in order to be able to take the rapid decisions needed to respond to the situation across the Trust. Delegation to the education, strategic & finance, and audit committees, and to the hub boards, was suspended during this period, as agreed in the resolution below. The board met more frequently than planned in order to fulfill its responsibilities. 

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