The Avanti Way
Avanti exists to help each person become a well-rounded human being through personal and spiritual growth and so make the world a better place.
Avanti schools support each person’s life journey through three parallel paths:
We develop these three paths through a student-centred approach to education based upon our three practices of Dialogue, Experience and Relationships.
The first Avanti school was established in 2008 as a Hindu faith school in Harrow, and over the next few years, further Hindu faith schools were started in different parts of London and Leicester. In 2019, we took on our first community schools. Some of these were failing schools that we sponsored, and some were new schools awarded to us through a local authority competition. Our community schools share the same Avanti ethos, as articulated in the Avanti Way, but they do not have a faith designation. Looking to the future, we aim to continue this diversity of provision by growing the number of our faith schools and our community schools. We are also conscious that our Board of Trustees should be diverse, particularly in terms of ethnicity, gender and faith. While we do not wish to impose rigid diversity quotas, we regularly monitor our board composition and the skills and experience on the Board in order to inform our approach to trustee recruitment.
The governance of the Avanti Schools Trust is vested at the national level in the Members and the Trustees and at the local level in our School Stakeholder Committees. Members and Trustees are expected to identify with and support the ethos of the Trust as expressed in the Avanti Way.
The role of the Members is set out in the Articles of Association and in company law. Their role is to ensure that the charitable objects of the Trust are fulfilled and to conduct oversight of the Trust Board. The Members’ key responsibilities are to receive the Annual Report of the Trust, to appoint the Trust’s auditors and to appoint and remove Trustees.
The Members meet at least once a year and by invitation of the Board may attend one of the Board of Trustees meetings annually in a non-voting capacity. Our current member profiles can be seen here.
As a charitable company limited by guarantee, Avanti Schools Trust is governed by a number of key documents including: Articles of Association, Schemes of Delegation and Funding Agreements. In addition, the Trust is required to make public its accounts which are audited annually.
The following can be found here.
- Articles of Association,
- Schemes of Delegation
- Funding Agreements
- Annual accounts.
The legal powers and responsibilities of the Avanti Schools Trust are held with the AST Board of Trustees who are accountable to the Department for Education. Trustees (who are also Directors) have overall responsibility and ultimate decision-making authority for all the work of the Trust. The Board is the Academy Trust’s key strategic decision-maker. It delegates certain responsibilities to the Executive Leaders and some of its functions to committees, but the Trust Board does not delegate accountability per se and remains responsible for all decisions. Thus any decision made by a committee or an individual with properly delegated authority is a decision of the Board.
The Board is expected to make a creative contribution to the AST by providing objective criticism; non-Executive Directors focus on Board matters and do not stray into executive direction and day-to-day operational issues; their function is to provide an independent, objective view of the MAT. Our current trustee profiles can be seen here.
Roles and Responsibilities of the Trust Board can be seen here.
The Executive Team
The Avanti Executive Team comprises of successful and experienced leaders, all of whom have an outstanding track record in school leadership, education management, finance and business. They promote a culture of excellence in everything the Trust does. The Executive Team is comprised of the Chief Executive Officer, the Director of Education and the Director of Finance. Profiles of our Exec Team and Central Team Leads can be found here.
Governance at the local level
Avanti does not have local governing bodies, but the Board of Trustees has established, for each school a School Stakeholder Committee (SSC). This is a committee of the Board which;
- enhances the Board’s understanding of the particular factors affecting local contexts and situations;
- provides perspectives from various stakeholder groups (staff, parents, students and the wider community) on the day to day functioning of the school, supporting Principals by gathering views, asking questions and discussing what is best for the school;
- works collaboratively with the Principal to ensure that the Avanti Way is well delivered and embedded, that the school encourages pupils’ spiritual, moral and cultural development, and that the school provides an appropriate education for all pupils including those with special needs;
- receives and comments upon termly reports from the Principal on educational standards within the school, and acts in partnership to support the raising of educational standards within the school;
- contributes to the running of the school by participating in disciplinary, exclusions, complaints, admissions and appointments panels;
- reviews the school’s budget on an annual basis.
- adopts an ambassadorial role to promote partnerships with wider local communities to enrich the school’s offer to pupils;
- supports the regular fund-raising activities of the school.
In some instances, when new schools join Avanti, the Board of Trustees will set up an interim local body, in the form of a Hub Board, which assumes the role and responsibilities of the SSC for a limited period. If you are interested in being part of the SSC at any of our schools please click here to learn more.