Home » Key Information » Academy Council

Academy Council

Frome Vale Academy is part of the Cabot Learning Federation, a multi-academy trust that is responsible for a number of academies across Bristol, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset.  Governance for a multi-academy trust operates at two levels.  At trust level, there is a Board of Directors.  The directors are accountable to the Department for Education and external government agencies, including the Charity Commission, for the quality of the education the trust provides and the effective use of the associated academy funding. They are required to have systems in place through which they can assure themselves of quality, financial probity, safety and good practice. The Board is provided assurance on a number of these areas through various sub-committees, as shown in the diagram below. For further information about the Board, please click https://www.clf.uk/governance/

Governance within a multi-academy trust

Academy Council

At a local level, each academy has an Academy Council comprising of up to 13 Academy Councillors.  Academy Councils are responsible for holding Principals and their leadership teams to account for the quality and effectiveness of the academic experience of the students under their care with the aim of securing effective school improvement.  They do this through monitoring performance against an annual academy improvement plan, through monitoring risks and responses to risks, and by overseeing systems and processes for the safeguarding of children and the health, safety and wellbeing of academy staff.

Frome Vale Academy Council

Governance at Frome Vale

Traditionally, schools have ‘governing bodies’, but as Frome Vale Academy is part of the Cabot Learning Federation (CLF), we have a slightly different structure. The CLF Board has overall responsibility for the management of all its academies (finances, staffing etc.), but each Academy has its own Council. The Council is made up of teacher and support staff reps, sponsored councillors (appointed by CLF), a local authority representative, 2 parent representatives (elected by parents) and a student advocate.

Academy Councils are responsible for holding Principals and their leadership teams to account for the quality and effectiveness of the academy for their students. Their focus is school improvement, and they monitor performance through the annual Academy Improvement Plan (AIP), through monitoring risks and responses to risks, and through overseeing systems and processes for the safeguarding, health, safety and wellbeing of academy staff and pupils.

Academy Councillors are expected to both support and challenge the Principal and academy leadership team, and work with them to make the academy one that everyone can be proud of.

Academy Council Meetings will be held this year on:

Wednesday 21 September 2022

Tuesday 11 October 2022

Tuesday 6 December 2022

Tuesday 28 February 2023

Tuesday 25 April 2023

Tuesday 4 July 2023

If you would like to contact the Chair of the Academy Council please send your email via the clerk on [email protected].

The Academy Council at Frome Vale Academy is made up of:

Chair of Academy Council & Sponsor Councillor 1

Laura Walder – Curriculum Lead

Laura joined the Council in 2016 as a parent councillor and became chair in July 2019. Since graduating from University in the city, Laura has worked within Bristol’s charity sector and is a qualified H&S professional. Laura has a keen interest in the arts and the natural world and is passionate about education and learning.

As Chair, Laura leads the Council, providing strategic direction, as well as support for the senior leadership team. Laura attends Chair of Academy Council meetings and oversees recruitment to the Council.

As the Link Councillor for the curriculum, Laura meets regularly with subject leads to ensure the school’s curriculum goes even further than the National Curriculum, and interests and challenges all of our children.

Vice Chair and Support Staff Councillor

Hope Allen – Health and Safety Lead

Hope joined the Academy Council in November 2019 and became Vice-Chair in 2020. Hope works as a learning mentor at The Nest, an alternative provision run by CLF and based on the school site.

As Vice-Chair, Hope works with Laura to provide strategic direction to the Council, and chairs in Laura’s absence. As Health and Safety Lead, Hope is a member of the Academy Health and Safety Committee. The Committee monitors and reviews systems in place for Health and Safety as well as monitoring and evaluating progress of H&S key priorities.

Sponsor Councillor 2


Sponsor Councillor 3

Lori Streich – Safeguarding Lead

Lori lives near Frome Vale Academy and joined the Council because she wanted to get involved with an organisation in her local community, and because Frome Vale is in her own words ‘a great local school!’. Lori is particularly impressed with the school’s approach to developing Frome Vale Citizens, its focus on supporting every child to do their best, and the creativity of the teaching staff. Lori’s own children went to a Primary School that had a small concrete playground, so she really appreciates the amount of outdoor space that Frome Vale children can enjoy.

Lori works with charities to support the delivery of effective services, and brings this expertise to the Council. As Council Safeguarding Lead, Lori meets termly with Heather Marshall, the school’s Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL). Lori monitors the systems in place for safeguarding and ensures relevant audits and reports are carried out.

Sponsor Councillor 4

Christian Simons – STEM Lead 

Christian joined Frome Vale Academy Council in 2023. A professionally registered Engineer, Christian has worked in the Defence industry for over 10 years, and is currently employed as an Eco-design engineer. He has one pre-school aged child, with another on the way.

Christian draws on his varied experience from industry, academia and STEM volunteering to identify and implement opportunities to expand an engaging STEM curriculum for the Academy’s pupils.

Sponsor Councillor 5

Sophia Feinbaum – Pupil Voice Lead

Executive Principal

Kate Richardson

Kate is Executive headteacher working for Cabot Learning Federation. Kate supports school improvement by working closely with the principal, vice principal and staff team. Kate has worked in education in Bristol for 8 years, having moved from London.


Dr Saunders

Jan started her career in education in 2001 at Summerhill Academy following a career in electronic publishing. Following 10 years as  a classroom teacher and curriculum leader, Jan moved into senior management together with a coaching and mentoring role  before joining Frome Vale Academy in 2014, first as Associate Principal and then as the substantive Principal. Jan has a keen interest in professional development, completing an MA in Lifelong learning and an educational doctorate researching emotional labour and teaching.

LA Rep

Lucy Fulton – Pupil Premium

Lucy joined Frome Vale Academy Council in November 2019. A qualified teacher, Lucy works within the cultural sector in Bristol and has one pre-school age child.

As Pupil Premium Lead, Lucy has a focus on the quality and usefulness of the additional provisions made in this area. Lucy wholeheartedly supports the school in providing the very best opportunities for all its students.

Parent Councillor 1

Meriam Gordon – Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and Looked After Child (LAC).

Meriam joined the Council in 2019 and has two children at the school. Meriam has worked in Human Resources since 2007 and has vast knowledge around policies, procedures and  employee rights, amongst other things and hopes to transfer her knowledge to her Councillor role. Meriam previously volunteered at her local Hospital Radio until moving to Bristol where she is now a full-time mother to 3 children.

As the Lead Councillor for Special Educational Needs & Disability and Looked After Children, Meriam has a focus on ensuring the needs of these children are met and they are provided with the best opportunities.

Parent Councillor 2

Paul Stephens – Communications Lead

Paul joined the Academy Council in 2020 and has 1 child at the school and 2 younger children. Raised in Bristol he has worked for the Ministry of Defence since 2013 following a career in retail management and is an accredited Project Professional with management responsibility in risk and cost management, overseeing governance and the management of business services to several high profile projects. Paul has a keen interest in professional development of others.

Teacher Councillor

Sophie Pring

Sophie was appointed as the Teacher Councillor for Frome Vale Academy in November 2021. She started at Frome Vale Academy in September 2018 as a Newly Qualified Teacher and is currently teaching Reception. In addition to being a class teacher, Sophie is also the lead for Art, DT and Artsmark.

Student Advocate Councillor

Vacancy – Pupil Voice Representative

Academy Council Downloads

Register of Business Pecuniary Interests 2022-23

Register of Business Pecuniary Interests 2021-22 (and Meetings Attendance 20-21)

Register of Business Pecuniary Interests 2020-21 (and Meetings Attendance 19-20)

Register of Business & Pecuniary Interests 2019-20 (and Meeting Attendance 18-19)

Meeting Minutes

Meeting Minutes 06/12/2022

Meeting Minutes 11/10/2022

Meeting Minutes 05/07/2022

Meeting Minutes 05/04/2022

Meeting Minutes 08/02/2022

Meeting Minutes 30/11/2021

Meeting Minutes 19/10/2021

Meeting Minutes 13/07/2021

Meeting Minutes 20/04/2021

Meeting Minutes 02/03/2021

Meeting Minutes 08/12/2020

Meeting Minutes 13/10/2020

Meeting Minutes 07/07/2020

Meeting Minutes 21/04/20

Meeting Minutes 21/01/2020

Meeting Minutes 10/12/2019

Meeting Minutes 15/10/2019

Meeting Minutes 18/07/2019

Meeting Minutes 30/04/2019

Meeting Minutes 05/03/2019

Meeting Minutes 15/01/2019