Governance Structure and Terms of Office

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 LGBs 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 Governing Body

Individual schools and their LGBs 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 LGB.

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.

LGBs’ 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 LGBs – 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 LGBs
  • 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 LGBs
  • 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

Jo Wiggans – Vice Chair of the Trust Board

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.

Jock Rodger - Chair of Audit and Risk Committee

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.

John Smart - Chair of Finance and Resources Committee

John retired from his role as CFO at the HCT Group; an £85m turnover social enterprise in the transport sector delivering services including London red buses, social services transport, school transport, park and ride, community transport and education and training.

John worked for HCT Group for seven years and has led finance and corporate services at a strategic level since the early 1990’s. John now volunteers as a Trustee with Migrant Help UK and Derbyshire Community Transport.

He is FCA qualified with the ICAEW and holds an IoD Certificate in Company Direction.

Umar Khan

Since October 2018, Umar has been Group Finance Director and CFO of Trutex Ltd; a national provider of school uniforms with a turnover of £35m.

Umar is FCA qualified with the ICAEW and qualified in audit with PwC. He is a Trustee of the Golden Mosque in Spotland, Rochdale.

Kitsa Efthymiadis

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.

Steven Peacock

Steven has been Chief Risk Officer for the Think Money Group and a member of the Group’s Risk and Audit Committees and Executive Committee. Steven has worked in internal audit since 1994 and has specialised in the banking and finance sectors.

He is experienced in reporting to the FCA as regulator and leading specialist teams including internal audit, operational risk, financial crime, compliance, testing and complaints. Steven was awarded his MBA in 2003.

Nazam Suleman

Nazam is the Mayoral Officer at Rochdale Borough Council.

Naz was a student at RSFC and studied LLB Law at the University of Bradford. He was a finalist of National Apprentice of the year and was the Apprentice of the year in Rochdale Business Awards.

Whilst working at the local authority Naz has gained experience in democratic services and governance and admissions. His current role as Mayoral Officer involves liaising with internal and external stakeholders ensuring event logistics are in place along with contingency planning and to mitigate any potential risks. Naz oversees financial arrangements which involves a range of subcontracting to external providers.

Jen Gibbons

Jen is a former solicitor who has worked in a range of teaching and management positions in both vocational and higher education for the last 20 years. She has undertaken a variety of roles including Deputy Head of Department, International Admissions Tutor, and Programme Leader. She also supported students in providing free legal advice to members of the public at the Baroness Hale Law Clinic in York. She now has a home-based part-time assessment design role at Kaplan, and is enjoying the opportunity this provides to get more involved in voluntary activities.

Jane Buck

A positive, strategic HR executive with over 20 years experience of working within the private sector including manufacturing, retail and professional services, in stand alone, regional, multi-site and head office roles. Working in partnership with executive teams to achieve alignment of the people and overall business strategy to enable operational excellence.


Page Downloads Date  
Altus Code of Conduct 10th Oct 2022 Download
Governor Eligibility Altus Education Parnership 18th Oct 2022 Download
Altus Governance Handbook July 2023 29th Aug 2023 Download
Attendance Record 2022.23 04th Sep 2023 Download
Terms of Office Altus 21st May 2024 Download