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Academy Council

Governance within a multi-academy trust

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, North Somerset, Gloucester and 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. Visit the CLF website for more information about the board.

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:

Meeting one – Wednesday 27th September 2023, 5-7pm

Meeting two – Tuesday 17th October 2023, 5-7pm

Meeting three – Tuesday 12th December 2023, 5-7pm

Meeting four – Tuesday 27th February 2024, 5-7pm

Meeting five – Tuesday 9th July 2024, 5-7pm

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

Laura joined the Council in 2017 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.

Vice Chair and Sponsor Councillor 2

Christian Simons – STEM and RHSE Lead

Christian joined Frome Vale Academy Council in 2023 and became Vice Chair in 2024. A Chartered Engineer, Christian has worked in the Defence industry for over 10 years, and is currently employed as an Eco-design engineer. He has two pre-school aged children.

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 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

James Mulcrone – Pupil Premium Lead

Jim joined the Academy Council in 2023, with 2 children at the school. Originally from Sheffield, he came to Bristol to work for the Ministry of Defence in 2006, and currently leads a team delivering key equipment to the armed forces. Jim is active in the community as a Beaver Scout leader in Fishponds, is the Chief Instructor in a local Taekwondo school, and helps to coach a local youth football team.  Jim believes in developing people to achieve their best, both professionally and in their leisure time.

As Pupil Premium Lead, Jim meets termly with the school to monitor and evaluate the progress of disadvantaged pupils and to monitor who the pupil premium funding is spent.

Sponsor Councillor 5


Executive Director of Education

Kate Richardson

Academy Council

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

Academy Council

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


Parent Councillor

Paul Stephens – Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) 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.

As SEND Lead, Paul meets termly with the school SENCO to monitor and evaluate progress and to ensure the needs to pupils with SEND are met.

Parent Councillor

Tom Hartshorn

Tom joined the Academy Council in 2023 and has children at the school.

Teacher Councillor

Tracey Pakrooh

Academy Council

Tracey has taught at Frome Vale for 6 years, in Years 5 and 6.  She is a member of the Senior Leadership Team, she us also the History, Geography, RE and Oracy Lead and the Raising Attainment Lead for the school.

She has a background in law, having worked as a legal executive in criminal law for 15years before re-training to teach.  She has two children of her own, who have just finished their primary education.

Support Staff Councillor

Ricki Petchey – Health and Safety Lead

Academy Council

Ricki joined the Academy Council in October 2023. Ricki works as Premises Manager at Frome Vale and is based at the site.

As Health and Safety Lead, Ricki 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.

Student Advocate Councillor


Academy Council Downloads

Register of Business Pecuniary Interests 2023-24

Meeting Minutes

Meeting Minutes 27/02/2024

Meeting Minutes 12/12/2023

Meeting Minutes 17/10/2023