Holy Family Catholic Multi Academy Trust hosts impactful Governance Conference

Holy Family Catholic Multi Academy Trust (HFCMAT) recently hosted its first Governance Conference, a day consisting of networking, Catholic Social Teaching, and workshops. 

Held at the Holiday Inn in Ellesmere Port, the conference was attended by over 40 governors and middle leaders from within the Trust, and other local primary and secondary schools, to come together to take part in a range of discussions and workshops. CEO of HFCMAT, Andy Moor, and Klare Rufo, director for development and improvement for the Trust, led most of the day. 

The day began with an inspiring talk from Raymond Friel OBE about Catholic education in MATs. Raymond shared his expertise of both the education sector and Catholicism to highlight the Church’s mission in education and Catholic Social Teaching. 

Following this, Andy and Klare discussed the importance of HFCMAT’s vision, mission, and values, as well as looking at how these inform strategic priorities. 

Assistant headteacher of St Bernard’s RC Primary School, Emily Reid, spoke to the room about creativity, leadership and learning at the Trust. She shared the impactful work of CChange, the North West Creativity Collaborative which is a network of schools who are conducting research around creativity and creative practice. St Bernard’s RC Primary School, part of HFCMAT serves as the programme’s lead school in the North West. 

Child-centred governance was explained by HFCMAT’s Governance Professional (and the CEO of Shaping Governance), Su Turner, who shared her own approach and knowledge in the area. She expressed that “every decision we make should take account of the voice of the child” and focussed on the significance of empowering student voice. 

Raymond Friel discussed Catholic Social Teaching

In the afternoon, attendees also had the opportunity to participate in a workshop of their choice, including that of Michelle O’Dell’s which focused on ‘understanding attendance’. Michelle works as a DfE advisor on attendance and an attendance intervention manager within a MAT, and shared some beneficial insight into her approaches for schools that need to increase attendance levels.  

Andy Moor’s workshop looked at preparing for Ofsted, whilst Su Turner’s workshop explored how local governing bodies could grow their own governors, with a focus on middle leaders. 

Carol Lawrence, chair of the Trust Board, alongside the governance team, presented the brand-new governance handbook. The handbook, designed for current and new governors, brings all the key information together into one place, demonstrating what governance looks like at HFCMAT. It will be available online as a continually updated and interactive live document, comprising useful links. 

At the end of the day, a reflective Q&A session was held for guests to gather their thoughts and inquire further about the Trust and content from throughout the day. 

The conference proved to be a resounding success; governors and middle leaders enjoyed their time networking with one another during the event and left with a wide breadth of knowledge about everything from strategic plans and values to the role of Catholic faith in education. 

One attendee said, “The conference was inspirational and informative. As well as practical information and good practice, the sessions also provided a clear picture of the multi academy trust as a whole and the vision we are all part of.” 

Another commented, “The Creativity Collaborative is very exciting, and I agree, it will change the system. I am new to governance, so this was really useful. It was good to see education through the eyes of a governor and not a teacher. Thank you so much!” 

Andy Moor said, “We would like to thank those who attended and supported our Governor’s Conference. It was a delight to connect with governors and middle leaders from HFCMAT and others from the local area.  

“We work every day to achieve our mission of developing individual excellence, embracing opportunities and building strong communities with Gospel values at the heart, and the conference allowed us to discuss and reflect on this as a group and from a governance standpoint.  

He added, “Following the success of this year’s conference, we have already been planning next year’s one and are excited to turn this into an annual event.” 

Main image: Klare Rufo speaking at the conference

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