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Become a Trustee

Thank you for visiting this page, which contains information about River Learning Trust and being a trustee. This information contains a series of videos at the foot of the page that look at the culture of RLT and the way it operates. If you would like to talk through becoming a trustee, click HERE to email Louise Askew, Head of Governance & Compliance.

About the trust

RLT is a multi-academy trust that is committed to excellence through collaboration and is responsible for a number of schools. We are: nine secondary schools; 19 primary schools; and a SCITT (school-centred initial teacher training) provider within Oxfordshire, Wiltshire and Berkshire.

The schools and SCITT are united by their commitment to the principles of the trust and a common belief in the benefits of everything that is gained by working together.

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Our schools

Secondary: The Cherwell School, Wheatley Park, Chipping Norton, Kingsdown, Marlborough CofE, The Swan School, Gosford Hill, The Oxford Academy and Cheney School.

Primary: Cutteslowe, Wolvercote, Tower Hill, New Marston, Edith Moorhouse, Garsington CofE, Horspath CofE, Madley Brook, Witney, Middle Barton, Beckley CofE, Rose Hill, Sandhills, Larkrise, Charlbury, Seven Fields, Windrush, Bayards Hill and Barton Park.

What's important to us?

The principles of River Learning Trust are: 

  • Commitment to Excellence – striving for the best educational experience through continuous improvement
  • Everyone Learning – creating and taking opportunities that enhance lives through evidence-based practice supporting adult and pupil learning
  • Respectful Relationships – acting with care, integrity, and fairness in all we do.

We recognise that education has the power to change lives, communities and society for the better and that we can achieve more for our pupils, trainees, staff and communities by working together rather than alone; we are determined that the trust will be successful in its vision.

Our collective vision is to be a trust where pupils and staff thrive in schools which demonstrate:

  • All-round education, academic success, lifelong learning and strength of character
  • Sustainable continuous improvement with no school standing still
  • All schools being good or outstanding, or improving rapidly
  • Collaboration that is raising standards and reducing workload
  • Where pupils, staff, parents and communities value everything we do to support the best possible outcomes and experiences for our children and young people.

Within this vision:

  • Each school has its own unique character and ethos
  • The relationships within the trust ensure genuine and impactful joint accountability – the outcomes for all of the pupils in all of the schools matter to everyone.

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What does a trustee do?

Trustees are responsible for the strategic oversight, administration and management of the trust and all its schools and entities to develop and achieve the trust’s vision, and to ensure compliance with government and ESFA requirements, company law and charity law.

All members of the trust board have responsibility for ensuring that the following three core functions are fulfilled:

  • Ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction
  • Holding leaders to account for the educational performance of the trust and its pupils, and the performance management of staff
  • Overseeing the financial performance of the school and making sure its money is well spent.

They exercise their responsibilities by setting the vision and policies for the trust, ensuring strong and effective governance, entering into contractual relationships with third parties, and exercising powers of intervention if required.

They have legal obligations through the Articles and Memorandum of Association of the Trust, and also under company law as directors and under charity law as trustees, for the proper conduct of the business of the trust.

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What's the time commitment?

The trust board is made up of 12 members. Our trustees contribute to the board a wide range of experience and skills with expertise in such areas as finance, premises, education, school governance, project management and strategy. 

They meet as a full trust board up to six times a year and in committees at least three times a year. The meetings are held both online and in person and generally last no more than two hours.

Each trustee is also linked to three of our school local governing bodies which means they can forge closer relationships with our local governors and get to know their concerns and preoccupations – this then feeds into strategic discussions at trust board level.  

What does the trust offer?

As a trustee you will have the opportunity to work with a group of like-minded volunteers and trust employees towards the common goal of ensuring the continued success of the trust.

You will gain valuable new skills working with a wide range of individuals and making decisions that contribute to the success of all our pupils, students and staff. We offer you training and support to help you in your role as a trustee.

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What is it like being a trustee?

We asked some of our trustees what it was like being an RLT Trustee and this is what they said:

"Being a trustee allows you to support RLT in its mission to help our pupils and staff do the very best they can for our students. RLT is a great team and being a trustee is a wonderful opportunity to be part of it and bring your expertise in support. The trustee team is positive, skilled and ambitious and an instrumental part of helping the Executive reach their aims."

T"he role of a trustee is “setting the direction, holding the executive to account and ensuring financial probity”. For RLT Trustees there is a high level of mutual collaboration between the trustees ensuring these aims are met through enabling equal weight to individual views and professional expertise. I enjoy working with other trustee and have learned a lot about the varying aspects and challenges of managing a large trust. We are not afraid to challenge the leadership team in a constructive way, and our views and concerns are always considered and addressed in a professional way, with a focus on delivering excellent education for all our pupils."

"For me the joy of being a trustee is that real involvement in proper strategic work. Being part of a group of talented individuals with diverse skills and experiences but a shared interest in ensuring that our schools provide a high quality and consistently improving experience for their communities is a great thing to do! I’d definitely recommend it!"

"We all possess skills that can contribute to the communities outside of our direct circle of  influence, and by working as a trustee of RLT, I get the opportunity to do that."

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