Governance Structure

The Members

The members have overall nominal responsibility for the Trust but they exercise their functions through the Trust Board.

The main powers and duties of the members in broad terms are:

  • To appoint and remove trustees
  • To monitor and evaluate the performance of the Trust Board through a collaborative process
  • To maintain the Membership and to appoint members
  • To approve any proposed changes to the Articles of Association
  • To receive the annual accounts of the Trust
The Trust Board

The Trust Board focuses on the three core functions of governance as set out above.

Key areas of responsibility retained by the Trust Board include:

  • Setting the strategic direction of the Trust and academies
  • Establishing new academies
  • Approving the overall budget for the Trust and its devolution to each academy
  • Approving the annual accounts of the Trust
  • Approving policies that the Trust, by law, is required to maintain
  • Appointing the CEO
  • Reviewing the Scheme of Delegation

The Trust Board has overall responsibility for the operation of the academies. It delegates functions that are specific to each academy to the LACs and it delegates certain of its functions that relate to the Trust as a whole to other committees of the Trust Board.

The Trust supports individual academies by taking on some of the responsibilities and functions that detract from the focus on learning. Scrutiny and oversight of these areas are reserved to the Trust Board and its committees.


The trustees are the directors of the Trust and have a similar role to governors in a local authority-maintained school. As directors their duties are to:

  • act within their powers
  • promote the success of the Trust
  • exercise independent judgement
  • exercise reasonable care, skill and diligence
  • avoid conflicts of interest
  • not accept benefits from third parties
  • declare any interest in proposed transactions or arrangements
The Local Academy Council

Individual schools and their LACs need to have delegated autonomy and authority and drive improvement within their own institution. Staff and parent members are elected by their peers to serve on each LAC.

This is the default position for our Scheme of Delegation but if an academy was in, or was experiencing, difficulties then the Trust would look to adjust the Scheme of Delegation accordingly. Any adjustment to the Scheme of Delegation for any academy will be taken by the Trust Board.

LACs’ delegated responsibilities require them to monitor and report to the Trust Board on the overall performance of the academy.

Governance Professional/Clerk to the Trustees

Altus has a Governance Professional who is a clerk to the trustees and is responsible for:

  • The strategic management of all governance and policy compliance objectives throughout the Trust
  • Ensuring that Trust governance procedures, the requirements of the Governance Handbook, the Trust code of conduct, Nolan Principles in public life and all terms of reference are embedded across the Trust
  • Ensuring effective procedures and systems link the various layers of governance – Trust Board, committees and LACs – so that information flows efficiently both ways
  • Leading the recruitment strategy for trustees and LAC governors to ensure that appointment is based on the skills, knowledge and experience of those appointed
  • Leading the recruitment and peer election process for staff and parent members of LACs
  • Identifying and supporting the delivery of a professional annual programme of training and development for all tiers of governance, including an effective induction programme for new trustees and LAC governors
  • Ensuring good quality reporting by leaders to the Trust Board, committees and LACs
  • Ensuring that accurate records of meetings and decisions reached are maintained

Should you require any further information regarding the governance structure or relevant reports, please contact the Governance Professional by emailing


Pam Coward is a retired headteacher (August 2004) who also worked as a leadership and management consultant. Her national profile has included a directorship of the National Council of the Specialist Schools Trust, membership of the reference group of headteachers, supporting the work of the Director General of Schools at the Department for Children Schools and Families and leading work as part of a national project to raise boys’ achievement with Cambridge University. She was awarded a DBE in the Birthday Honours List 2003 for services to education. In her spare time, she enjoys the theatre and being with and entertaining her two grandchildren who live in the UK, with a further granddaughter living in Australia.

Richard is currently a vice chair of the Trust Board and is also chair of the Rochdale Sixth Form College Local Academy Council.

Richard was a school improvement officer for Rochdale Local Authority. He held the full-time post of Senior School Improvement Manager where his major responsibility was to ensure that schools causing concern to the local authority and those in Ofsted categories improved rapidly. He regularly worked in primary and secondary schools including those with sixth forms.

Richard has also been a registered Ofsted inspector and led many inspections of primary and secondary schools. He has been a registered trainer of Ofsted inspectors.

In his spare time Richard enjoys playing golf, reading and attending the theatre.

Jo is a vice chair of the Trust Board and the Chair of the Governance and Search Committee.

Until 2012, Jo was Director of the Aimhigher initiative in Greater Manchester, leading a large partnership of schools, colleges and universities to raise the aspirations of young people with no higher education heritage to go to university. Aimhigher delivered university summer schools and campus visits for school pupils and a wide range of support and activities in schools and colleges.

Jo lives in Rochdale and has three daughters who all attended local schools. She believes in the transformative power of education and the right of all to achieve their potential.

In her spare time, she likes to dig the allotment, walk, and learn Italian in preparation for a trip to the cities and hills of Italy.

Stephen is a born and bred Rochdalian. Until he retired, he was a consultant town planner, having previously been Rochdale Council’s Director of Town Planning and Development Services. He is a volunteer at Springhill Hospice. His particular interests relate to the future development and maintenance of the college campus and buildings. Stephen’s other interests include skiing, rugby (both league and union) and travelling.

Kitsa is a practising solicitor and has been a partner in a large legal firm in Rochdale since 1985. She specialises in property work. For many years Kitsa was a non-executive director of two national health trusts, and she is now a trustee of Springhill Hospice and on the steering committee for the town’s annual business awards. She lives locally and enjoys working with people from other backgrounds and with different experiences to her own. In her spare time, Kitsa enjoys travelling (anywhere), skiing (badly), live music of any kind (except jazz) and a good night out.


Jock retired from Manchester City Council two years ago – he was the Strategic Lead Commissioner for Children and for Adult Mental Health Services. He subsequently worked as a consultant supporting local authorities in looking at innovative ways of funding preventative approaches to achieving a social impact for vulnerable citizens. He has a background in post-16 funding which has proved very useful in his role on the Trust Board where Jock is Chair of the Audit Committee. Jock has lived in Rochdale for almost 35 years and has a deep commitment to ensuring that young people in the borough have the best possible options to support their progress towards higher education and employment. He uses his spare time to visit his children and grandchildren, to garden with his wife, and to run and ride his bike around the beautiful moorland landscape which sits so close to the town.

Rodger is a chartered accountant, a former partner in Ernst & Young, finance director of a nationwide furniture retailer and Head of Special Projects at Manchester Central Convention Complex (a role encompassing finance, information systems and commercial development).

Now retired he works in voluntary roles within the charity sector. Rodger is Chair of the Finances and Resources Committee.

He is a keen music follower with tastes that embrace most popular music genres. An active supporter of Manchester United and Rochdale he enjoys all sports although participation is now restricted to the gym and walking. Travel, food and MG sports cars complete his range of interests.

Susan has worked at a local primary school in Rochdale for 19 years as a teaching assistant and has lived and worked in Rochdale for most of her life. She is a keen gardener, likes walking and camping, and enjoys listening to live music and socialising with friends.

Susan had a son and daughter attend Rochdale Sixth Form College and has been very impressed with the college and its commitment to its students. Her son went on to study at the University of Leeds and her daughter to the University of Hull.

Susan believes Rochdale Sixth Form College, being ranked the best performing college in the country, will continue to have a big impact on the town as our young people no longer have to go out of the area for quality post-16 education. The dedication and enthusiasm of all the staff drives the students to success and the results speak for themselves!

Rupert is a former special adviser to the Royal Household, and project lead for iDEA, one of the world’s most successful free educational technologies. He is a National Teaching Fellow and Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. He has broad research interests in physics, computing, technology enhanced learning (especially international higher education development), quality enhancement and the student experience. He is a published author and also an avid learner. He is currently completing his eighth postgraduate qualification across a range of disciplines. When he’s not deep in thought he likes travelling, photography and supporting his local football team in Old Trafford.

Jennifer is Group HR Director for a national fire and security business based in Salford Quays. Jenn has worked within HR for 20 years and is a Chartered Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) as well as a committee member and vice chair of the CIPD’s Manchester branch. Jenn is also an ambassador for local grant funding charity Forever Manchester and is a public speaker on the topic of HR and women in leadership.

Jenn is married with a young family that keep her very busy. She enjoys travel, playing golf and a good night out!

Aleks is the headteacher of Bowlee Park Community Primary School, a school she has led for the past ten years. Over this time Bowlee Park has grown to a four-form entry school, while retaining its outstanding status throughout. Aleks is also an Ofsted inspector and regularly leads primary school inspections.

Bowlee Park School is very close to the planned Edgar Wood Academy being developed by Altus and will therefore be one of its key partner primary schools. Aleks is very excited to be part of this new development as she believes that disadvantage can be overcome with excellent education which gives young people every opportunity to succeed in life.

Aleks has two grown-up children and two young grandchildren with whom she loves spending time. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, socialising with friends and going to the theatre.