Effective governance underpins all successful and strong Multi-Academy Trusts (MATs).  SAST has a three-tier governance system and each layer has distinct responsibility and power set out out in a Scheme of Delegation.

The role of governors is to:

  • Ensure clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction
  • Holding executive leaders to account for the educational performance
    of the organisation and its pupils, and the effective and efficient
    performance management of staff; and
  • Oversee the financial performance of the organisation and making
    sure its money is well spent

SAST’s Scheme of Delegation explains how the above core responsibilities are delivered through its Members, Board of Trustees and Local Governor teams.

Our priority is to support every school in providing excellent education while ensuring it remains a key part of its community.

There is a balance as to the responsibilities delegated to schools and those that are the responsibility of SAST. The focus is to continually evaluate, improve and develop through strong, effective and accountable leadership at all levels. The aim is to establish clear, simple and effective accountability including slim and streamlined governance.

There are three levels of governance:

Members:– Members appoint the Trustees to run the SAST, and are the only people able to amend the Articles of Association of the SAST. There are 6 members of which 1 will be the Diocese of Salisbury in a corporate capacity and 2 other have foundation status. Members have a strategic vision, with a range of skills such as academic/education, financial, legal, corporate business and creative/cultural.

Board of Trustees:- Trustees determine policy, and make decisions for the SAST. They are the statutory Governing Body of each School. There are 12 Trustees including 6 with foundation status. The Trustees are appointed on the basis of the skills balance required for the SAST including finance, legal, HR, project/business management, education, estates.

Local Governing Body (LGB):- Each school has a LGB with agreed delegation to respond to the context, status, needs and resources of its school community and its connections to the wider world. The LGB will focus on teaching and learning, standards and achievement, community and safeguarding. There will be up to 12 local governors in each school and its composition reflects its previous VC, VA or community status. There will be no local level sub-committees.

The SAST Board of Trustees has two central Trust Committees: one for Teaching, Learning and Improvement and one for Finance and Resources. All schools are accountable to the Board of Trustees for standards and achievement.

Sherborne Area Schools' Trust - Scheme of Delegation



Nigel Rees
Governance, Foundation, Finance

Mandy Christopher
Diocese of Salisbury Corporate Member, School improvement, Foundation

Edward Gregory
Diocese of Bath & Wells Corporate Member, School Improvement, Foundation

Peter McGuigan
Education, HR, Resourcing

Tony Cooke
Business, Strategy, Commercial

Canon Jonathan Triffitt
Diocese of Salisbury Corporate Member, School Improvement, Foundation


Member Overall purpose

Members have an overarching responsibility for the viability and performance of the Academy Trust through the appointment of trustees and approval of the annual report. They have the power to amend the Articles of Association that govern the way the Trust is constituted and managed.

Main duties and responsibilities

  1. To appoint trustees to the Trust Board bearing in mind the Articles of Association and the need for a balanced skill set to manage the Trust effectively
  2. To remove any trustee who is not considered to be acting in the best interests of the Trust, after discussion with the Diocese as appropriate,
  3. From time to time to review the Articles of Association and to make changes where deemed necessary after taking advice from the Trust Board
  4. To appoint other Members as necessary in line with the provisions of the Articles of Association
  5. If deemed appropriate Members have the authority to change the name of the company
  6. To approve the annual report and accounts prior to submission to Companies House
  7. Members have the power to wind up the company and pledge the sum of £10 towards any debts in the event that the Trust is wound up

Expected time commitment – 2 meetings per year



Nigel Rees (Chair)
Leadership, Governance, Finance, Business

Ruth Sullivan
Education, HR, Foundation

Roy Davey
Education – Primary and Secondary, School improvement, Foundation

Caryl Plewes
Strategic, Governance, School improvement, Primary Education, Foundation

Tim Bartley
Business, Project Leadership, Finance, Asset Management

John Ponsonby OBE (Vice Chair)
Strategic, Business, Commercial, Training

Claire Bedding, SEND Trustee
Executive skills training

Steven Lusher
Estates management

Graham Colls
Strategic business management, Finance

Simon Jones
Foundation Trustee

Ian MacFarlane
Strategic, Business, Commercial


Trustee Overall purpose

Trustees are responsible for the strategic direction, broad policy framework and oversight of the Trust and all its schools. They take decisions that are in the best interests the MAT as a whole and are not representative of any one of the constituent academies. The Trustees are also Directors of the Academy which is a company limited by guarantee and registered as such at Companies House.

Main duties and responsibilities

  1. To ensure that the activities of the Trust fulfil the objectives as described in the Articles of Association and the Memorandum of Understanding
  2. To ensure compliance with the Trust’s duties under company and charity law
  3. To ensure the schools are compliant with all statutory obligations (eg curriculum, SEND, safeguarding)
  4. To safeguard the assets of the Trust
  5. To ensure the solvency of the trust and to abide by the agreements made with the Department for Education and Educational Funding Agency including the Master Funding agreement and the Supplemental Funding Agreement and as defined in the current issue of the Academies Financial Handbook
  6. To determine the overall strategic direction and development of the Trust through good governance and clear strategic planning
  7. To approve the Trust’s strategic plan
  8. To challenge and support the Trust’s Executive Principal, senior staff and academy leaders to achieve the outcomes of the strategic plan
  9. To oversee the performance of the Trust and its schools and direct change where performance falls short of expectation
  10. To agree policies across the schools within the Trust
  11. To ensure that risks are mitigated where possible and otherwise effectively managed
  12. To review the Trust Board’s terms of reference on a regular basis and to recommend any changes to the Board of Members
  13. To approve the terms of reference of the Board’s committees
  14. To approve the terms of reference of the Local Governing Bodies for the schools
  15. To, approve the Trust’s annual budget and monitor progress through the receipt of regular reports and to commission auditors
  16. To approve the annual budget for each school and monitor expenditure against the budgets
  17. To approve the annual and other statutory reports to Members and the EFA*
  18. To agree and review from time to time the scheme of delegation to the schools
  19. To review the effectiveness and skill set of the Board and recommend appropriate changes to the Board of Members
  20. To appoint and if deemed necessary to remove the Executive Principal

Expected time commitment – 6 Board meetings per year plus committees

*Trustees appointed by the Diocese are required to provide prescribed reports to the Salisbury Diocesan Board of Education.


SAST Trust Board Committees:

Finance & Resources Committee

SAST Teaching and Learning Improvement Committee

SAST Pay & Remuneration Committee

SAST Audit & Risk Committee


Trustee Meeting Attendance 2020-21 SAST Register of Business Interests 2021-22


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