Nexus Multi Academy Trust

Name: Warren Carratt

Title: Chief Executive Officer

School Name:  Nexus Multi Academy Trust

School Type: MAT

Tell us a little bit about your school….

Nexus is a MAT consisting of four special schools. Three of our schools were graded as “Good” at their last inspections and are aspiring for outstanding. One of our schools has recently been sponsored by the Trust following an inadequate judgement, though is firmly on the path to improvement.

We provide education across our Trust to children and young people aged 2 – 19 with a combination of severe or moderate learning difficulties. We work closely with children and families to provide a personalised offer that 100% meets their needs and draws on their unique strengths and abilities.

All of our schools have been recognised for their good work through a variety of externally moderated quality marks, and as a Trust we are also 2017 finalists for the National Governance Association (NGA) “Outstanding Governance” Award.

Why did you come to Governors for Schools and how did we help?

The Trust worked with Lloyds Bank in the autumn of 2016 to pilot use of their new “e-governor” initiative across three of the Trust’s governance boards. All three e-governors were identified quickly and all have brought a diversity of skills and experience to the governance boards they have joined. This has also complemented the existing skills of our governors and Directors in a really constructive manner.

Did you have any particular requirements?

We were looking for “cognitive competence” more broadly, with individuals bringing a flexible intellect to engage in the multifaceted work of school governance.

What was your timescale? Did everything run smoothly?

We had a flexible timescale to begin with, though all things ran smoothly and quickly. The major issues have related to ICT infrastructure to accommodate e-governors virtual input, which is a schools’ IT estate issue that we need to address internally. However, it is important to factor this in to considerations when scoping the viability of involving an e-governor at actual meetings.

Who joined you? What company did they come from and what’s their job title there?

All of our e-governors came from Lloyds bank with a real mix of strategic and operational management experience across the continuum of competence.

What skills did they bring and how have they fitted in?

They have brought, first and foremost, the cognitive competence required to digest complex information about our schools and analyse this effectively, leading to insightful questions being asked about key lines of information. All of our e-governors have fitted in really well.

What impact have they made?

The major impact has been the objective analysis of school’s financial data and the risks associated with special school funding models. However, it would be unfair to pigeon hole their contribution as being limited to finance, as they have engaged in all aspects of our governance reporting and have asked insightful and pertinent questions drawn from good data analysis in a variety of areas (e.g. pupil progress, safeguarding, wellbeing and attendance etc).

How has working with Governors for Schools has benefited your school?

By adding real value to our governance recruitment efforts and therefore enabling the Trust to have increased confidence in the competence of our governance structures.