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Heckmondwike Grammar School

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Heckmondwike Grammar School Governance

The benefits of becoming a School Governor

Being a governor is an enormously challenging and rewarding opportunity. The personal benefits can be summarised as;

  • A sense of satisfaction through knowing children will benefit from your efforts
  • The opportunity to develop new skills and to strengthen existing ones
  • The opportunity to work with people from a variety of social, cultural and religious backgrounds
  • The opportunity to gain understanding in key areas such as finance, personnel, and strategic planning
  • The opportunity to gain awareness of the education system as a whole

Through solving problems ranging from finance to site management, human resources to marketing, pupil welfare to curriculum development, every governor is guaranteed to broaden their skills and knowledge in some way. As all decisions are made with the consensus of the whole governing body there is also the opportunity to utilize the softer skills of teamwork, communication and tolerance.

Governor Responsibilities

School governors make important collective decisions and the governing body is answerable to parents and the community. The responsibilities of the governing body can be summarised as providing strategic management, acting as a critical friend and ensuring accountability. Specific responsibilities include:

  • Promoting high standards of education and achievement
  • Planning the school’s long-term future
  • Setting the school’s aims and values
  • Appointing senior staff including the Head Teacher
  • Budgetary allocation and control
  • The day to day management of the school is the responsibility of the Head Teacher.
  • What makes a good school governor
  • The most important quality is the desire to make a difference to the lives of children, and then:
  • An ability to work in a team
  • A desire to help the community
  • An external perspective
  • A willingness to challenge assumptions
  • The time to get involved

Any of the following skills will also add value;

  • Marketing
  • Strategic Planning
  • Finance
  • Languages
  • Communications
  • HR
  • Problem Solving
  • Art and Design
  • IT
  • Project Management
  • Legal Knowledge
  • Science and Technology
  • Decision Making
  • Health and Safety
  • Engineering

Heckmondwike Grammar School Academy Trust: Governance

Constitution & Principal activities

Heckmondwike Grammar School Academy Trust is a company limited by guarantee with no share capital (registration no.07348329) and an exempt charity which was established on 17th August 2010.  The Charitable Company’s Memorandum and Articles of Association are the primary governing documents of the Academy Trust.  The Academy commenced its operations on 1st September 2010.

 The governors act as the trustees for the charitable activities of Heckmondwike Grammar School Academy Trust and are also the directors of the Charitable Company for the purposes of company law.  The Charitable Company is known as Heckmondwike Grammar School and was established to advance, for the public benefit, education in the UK, in particular by establishing, maintaining, carrying on, managing and developing Heckmondwike Grammar School Academy Trust.  Heckmondwike Grammar School Academy Trust operates in place of Heckmondwike Grammar School, a foundation school, which ceased to exist as a maintained school on 31st August 2010.

Objects and Aims

The principal object and activity of the charitable company is to advance education in the UK for the public benefit, in particular by establishing, maintaining, carrying on, managing and developing the Academy, offering a broad curriculum.   In setting objectives and planning activities the Directors have given careful consideration to the Charity Commission’s general guidance on public benefit.

Objectives and Activities

The main objectives of the Trust during the year ended 31st August 2015 are summarised below

  • To ensure that every child enjoys the same high quality education in terms of resourcing, tuition and care
  • To raise the standard of educational achievement of all pupils
  • To improve the effectiveness of the Trust by keeping the curriculum and organisational structure under continual review
  • To provide value for money for the funds expended
  • To comply with all appropriate statutory and curriculum requirements
  • To maintain close links with industry and commerce; and
  • To conduct the Trust’s business in accordance with the highest standards of integrity, probity and openness

The vision for Heckmondwike Grammar School Academy Trust is for a school in which pupils feel happy and safe and are challenged and supported to achieve the highest possible academic standards.   They are encouraged to participate and excel in a wide range of creative, sporting and cultural fields.  They will develop the skills and qualities that will make them healthy, adaptable, responsible citizens of the future and enable them to make a profound contribution.  The values which underpin this vision include:  aspiration, inclusion, lifelong learning, contribution and commitment to improvement.

The Governing Body’s principal aim for the current period of their development plan is to further build on outstanding standards and achievement and the positive ethos which already exists in the school thereby creating an institution in which:

  • students achieve the highest possible standards in all areas of the curriculum;
  • students enjoy their learning in a safe and caring environment where they develop the qualities of adaptability, enterprise, self-reliance and responsibility in preparation for a productive and healthy life;
  • well-being is outstanding and all members of the community are valued and respected and show tolerance and understanding;
  • there is an ethos of continuous improvement and an appreciation of the value and satisfaction of hard work; and
  • The school specialisms and academy status enable it to further broaden opportunity and promote high achievement both in the school and wider community.

Organisational Structure

The management structure consists of two levels:  The Governing Body and the Senior Leadership Team. The aim of the management structure is to devolve responsibility and encourage involvement in decision making at all levels.

The Governing Body is responsible for setting general policy, adopting an annual plan and budget, monitoring by the use of results, and budgets and making major decisions about the direction of the Trust, capital expenditure and senior staff appointments.

The senior leaders are the Head Teacher, the Deputy Head Teachers, Assistant Head Teachers and Business Manager. These managers control the school at an executive level, implementing the policies laid down by the Governing Body and reporting back to them. As a group the senior leaders are responsible for the authorisation of spending within agreed budgets and the appointment of staff, though appointment boards for posts in the Leadership Team always contain a Governor.

The main sub-committees that operate as part of the Governing Body are the Finance & Resources sub-committee, the Staffing sub-committee and the Curriculum sub- committee.

The purpose of the Finance & Resources sub-committee is to:

  • Assist the decision making of the governing body, by enabling more detailed consideration to be given to the best means of fulfilling the governing body's responsibility
  • ensure sound management of the Academy’s finances and resources including the buildings
  • to ensure that there is regular scrutiny over the Academy’s financial affairs in line with the requirements of the Academies Financial Handbook
  • ensure that the Academy undertakes proper planning, monitoring and probity;
  • ensure that financial transactions represent good value for money  
  • make appropriate recommendations on such matters to the governing body on a regular basis; and 
  • refer major issues to the full governing body for consideration

During the year, Governors considered a wide range of financial issues, including:

  • The likely impact of future funding reductions on the Academy
  • Progress in terms of the construction of the Powell building and associated enabling works; and
  • A Condition Improvement Fund (C.I.F.) bid to the Education Funding Agency for window and curtain wall replacement

The purpose of the Staffing sub-committee is:

  • To assist the decision making of the governing body, by enabling more detailed consideration to be given to the best means of fulfilling the governing body's responsibility to ensure sound management and development of the academy’s staffing arrangements
  • To ensure that the Academy undertakes proper planning, monitoring of teaching and non-teaching staff 
  • To make appropriate comments and recommendations on such matters to the governing body on a regular basis 
  • To refer major issues to the full governing body for consideration or ratification

The purpose of the Curriculum sub-committee is:

  • To ensure statutory requirements in relation to the curriculum are met
  • To assist the decision making of the governing body, by enabling more detailed consideration to be given to the best means of fulfilling the governing body's responsibility to ensure sound management of the academy’s curriculum including trips and other curriculum enrichment activities.
  • To make appropriate comments and recommendations on such matters to the governing body on a regular basis. 
  • To refer major issues to the full governing body for consideration or ratification

Method of Recruitment and Appointment or Election of Governors

The Directors are Directors of the company for the purposes of the Companies Act 2006 and trustees for the purposes of charity legislation and form the Governing Body of the Academy.

Directors (Governors) serve for a term of 4 years, save that this time limit shall not apply to the Head Teacher who is the Academy Principal.  Subject to remaining eligible to be a particular type of Governor, any Governor may be re-appointed or re-elected.  The Members of the Trust may appoint up to ten Governors and the Local Authority may appoint one LA Governor.

Parent Governors are elected by parents of registered pupils at the school.  Where a vacancy for a parent Governor exists, nominations can be sought from the parents of registered pupils at the school.  Where the number nominated exceeds the number of vacancies, a secret ballot is held.  If insufficient parents are nominated, the Governing Body may appoint a parent Governor.  

Staff Governors are nominated by the staff employed at the school or by secret ballot if there are more nominations than vacancies.   If there are insufficient nominations, the Governing Body may appoint a staff Governor from amongst the employees.

During the 2014/15 academic and financial year the Governing Body held 3 meetings of the full Governing Body and a further 11 sub-committee meetings. There were 4 meetings of the Trust.

Governor information is provided as an Appendix to this statement.

Policies and Procedures Adopted for the Induction and Training of Trustees

The training and induction provided for new Governors is dependent on their existing experience.   Where necessary, induction provides training on charity and educational, legal and financial matters.  All Governors receive child protection training.

All new Governors are given a tour of the school and the chance to meet with staff and students.  All Governors are provided with copies of policies, procedures, accounts, budgets, plans and other documents that they will need to undertake their role as Directors and Governors.

Achievements and Performance 2014/15

The Trust is now in its fifth year of operation and total students in the year ended 31st August 2015 were as follows:

  • Years 7-11     -            805                 
  • Years 12-13   -            582     

(As at autumn census date October 2014)   

The examination results for the 2014/15 academic year are summarised as follows:

2015 GCSE Results

5+A*C All Subjects


5+A*C Including English and Maths




Average points score per subject entry

49.4 (Grade A-)

Capped average points/entry (best 8)

52 (Grade A)

The quality of grades achieved was very high; 85% of GCSE grades awarded were at grade B or better and two thirds of these grades were either A or A*. Particularly pleasing was that 434 A* grades were awarded, despite a continued national downward trend in the award of top grades.

There were some outstanding individual performances. Out of 164 candidates:

  • 115 students achieved five or more A or A* grades, and 85 of these achieved eight or more;
  • 38 students achieved 5 or more grades at A*;
  • 15 students achieved a remarkable 10 or more grades at A*;

Post 16 Results

Our 285 students achieved almost 1000 A-level passes plus over 450 AS levels and a record 273 extended project qualifications.

There were 100% pass rates in almost all subjects and the quality of grades achieved was excellent.  Excluding general studies, 82% of results were at grade C or better and 72% of these grades were either A*, A or B.

There were some particularly impressive individual performances. 44 students achieved 3 or more grade A* or A passes, and 11 of these achieved 4 or more grade A* or A passes.

The best performing student attained six full A levels including four at A* in the Extended Project and a Distinction in the AQA Baccalaureate.

These superb results, which come against a background of downward pressure on grades nationally, reflect the hard work and dedication of our students and staff, and will enable the students to take their next steps with confidence.


During the year, Heckmondwike Grammar School pupils achieved an attendance level of over 97%.

Other accomplishments

The school remains a place where students can gain a vast range of enriching experiences above and beyond the outstanding work done in the classroom. A host of trips and expeditions to UK and foreign destinations, musical and theatrical productions, sports and cultural activities, charity events and competitions combine with the academic curriculum to give opportunities to develop all the skills and attributes that will enable our students to make a profound contribution beyond school. This bewildering array of additionality is recorded in the school’s annual magazine, The Heckler, a copy of which may be viewed or downloaded from the school web site. The Heckler runs to over 200 pages, which reflects the variety and scale of what is on offer.

Throughout the year a number of events raised money for charitable causes nominated by the school council and the total donated overall was £11,056 (2014 £13,439).

Support for Westborough High School

Heckmondwike Grammar School Academy Trust is a partner in the Dewsbury Learning Trust, which supports Westborough High School (WHS) in Dewsbury. WHS was a school in National Challenge but, in 2012, managed to exceed floor standards and achieve an Ofsted rating of Good. Despite having met the target set in the action plan, support from Heckmondwike Grammar School continued, and is currently focussed on improving progress in mathematics for higher-attaining pupils, whilst providing support for leadership and governance.

 Further information about the Academy can be found on our web-site or by contacting the Academy directly.