Governance Overview


The Governance of Bishop Wilkinson Catholic Education Trust is structured in accordance with its Articles of Association and comprises of three levels; the Members, the Trust Board of Directors, and Local Governing Committees who oversee governance at local level for academies in the Trust.

The Trust has five Members who are accountable to the DfE and have ultimate responsibility for the Trust achieving its charitable objectives. They sign off the Articles of Association and have the power to appoint and remove the Directors. The Members include representatives from the Diocese of Newcastle and Hexham. Members are independent of the Directors to provide challenge and scrutiny to the Board.

The ultimate responsibility for the running of our schools resides with the Trust Board Directors. They set the strategic direction for the MAT and are accountable to the Secretary of State for the performance of the schools within it. This is set out in a legal document known as the ‘funding agreement’. As charity trustees, they must also ensure that they are complying with charity law requirements. Directors are appointed on the basis of skills.

The authority for running each school remains at Local Governing Committee level and is clearly defined by our scheme of delegation.


The Members are the guardians of the constitution, determining the governance structure of the Trust and providing oversight and challenge of the Directors to ensure the charitable object of the Trust is being fulfilled and a Catholic education is provided.

In view of the overarching role of the Members, the Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle is a Member and appoints other Members from within the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle.

Members appoint the Board of Directors to ensure the MAT is run in accordance with its aims and objectives.

The Members’ key responsibilities are:

  • to secure Catholic education and ensure the Trust remains true to its vision and values;
  • to ensure the charitable objects of the Trust are met;
  • to determine the Trust’s constitution i.e. the Articles and approve of the governance structure; and
  • to support the Bishop in appointing and removing Directors.

The Members

  • Bishop R Bryne
  • Mrs D Fox
  • Mr J Ledger,
  • Rev S Lerche
  • Rev Canon Peter Leighton


The Directors have overall responsibility and ultimate decision-making authority for all the work of the Trust, including the establishing and maintaining of the Academies (which includes taking existing schools into the Trust and opening new schools). The Directors have the power to direct change where required.

There are no “terms of reference” for the Trust Board as the detail is set out in the Articles of Association.

A summary of the key responsibilities of the Directors is set out in the Scheme of Delegation.

Directors are responsible for:

  • Ensuring the quality of educational provision
  • Challenging and monitoring performance
  • Managing finances and property
  • Managing the Headteachers of each academy within the Trust

The Directors

  • Cllr Martin Gannon
  • Peter Cantwell
  • Christopher Coxon
  • Fr Mark Millward
  • Angela Boyle
  • Claire Reid
  • Michelle Harrison
  • Ian Mearns MP

Local Governing Committees

The Trust Board has established Local Governing Committees for each of the Academies, for the most part made up of individuals drawn from the Academy’s community, both as elected and appointed members.

Those serving on the Local Governing Committee are accountable to the Directors and the Bishop and must ensure that at all times they act in good faith and in the best interests of the Academies and the Trust, exercising reasonable care and skill having particular regard to personal knowledge and experience.

The role of a Governor within the Trust is an important one. The governance structure ensures that as far as possible the responsibility to govern is vested in those closest to the impact of decision making.

Clerk to Trust Board – Gillian Hodgson (South Tyneside Governor Services) – contact

Director of Governance for the Trust: Jacqui Ridley – contact