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Highams Park School is an INDEPENDENT state funded school run by The Highams Park Academy Trust NOT by the Local Authority, the London Borough of Waltham Forest.

The Secretary of State for Education confirmed that Highams Park School converted to become an Academy on 1st October 2011.

The school is governed by the Highams Park Academy Trust, a charitable company limited by guarantee established specifically and solely for the benefit of the school.

The Highams Park Academy Trust was set up and officially incorporated with Companies House on 12th August 2011. The Highams Park Academy Trust does not have any external sponsor(s) and as such the school is known as a "Converter Academy".

What is an Academy? The government's own website says the following;

Academies are publicly funded independent schools. Academies don't have to follow the national curriculum and can set their own term times. They still have to follow the same rules on admissions, special educational needs and exclusions as other state schools. Academies get money direct from the government, not the local council. They're run by an academy trust which employs the staff.

There are three key legal documents that established the Academy Trust; the "Memorandum of Association" the "Articles of Association" and the "Funding Agreement" with the Secretary of State for Education.

All Academies have these key legal documents, however the wording, articles and clauses sometimes differ between Academy Trusts depending on when the particular Academy was established.

The Academy Trust is required to publish on the website these key legal documents relating to the establishment of the Academy Trust. These can be found in the Highams Park Academy Trust section of our Downloads page along with other Trust documents. The Trust also publishes its annual reports and financial statements in the Downloads section.

Academy Trusts are companies limited by guarantee and exempt charities. The Board of Trustees is subject to the duties and responsibilities of charitable Trustees and company directors as well as any other conditions that the Secretary of State agrees with them. These responsibilities are mutually reinforcing and are there to ensure proper governance and conduct of the Trust. The key requirements are reflected in the Articles of Association, the Funding Agreement, and the Academies Financial handbook issued by the Education Funding Agency (EFA)

Each Academy Trust has to comply with guidance from the Charity Commision and the requirements of company law as well as regulations imposed by the Department for Education (DFE) via its Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA).


The object of Highams Park Academy Trust

A charity's object is a statement of its purposes - they must be exclusively charitable. The Highams Park Academy Trust's object is contained in our "Articles of Association" and it says the following:

The Academy Trust's object ("the Object") is specifically restricted to the following: to advance for the public benefit education in the United Kingdom, in particular but without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing by establishing, maintaining, carrying on, managing and developing a school offering a broad and balanced curriculum ("the Academy").


Principles of Governance

The main principles of governance are the same in academies as in other state funded schools, but the Trustees (Directors/Governors) have greater autonomy than those in maintained schools. 

The school receives its funding through a funding agreement with the Department of Education that channels funding through the Education and Skills Funding Agency rather than via the Local Authority (Waltham Forest).

There are two distinct groups of people involved in the governance of an Academy; the Members of the Trust and the Trustees.


Members and Trustees recruitment

The former governors of Highams Park (Voluntary Aided) school became the first Trustees (Directors/Governors) of the Highams Park Academy Trust. Some of the longest serving experienced governors became the Members of the Trust and signed the Memorandum of Association. Some of those original Members have now retired or resigned and replacement Members have been found. All Members of the Trust have an association with the school stretching back in time. Some of the Members also serve as Trustees (Directors/Governors) on the governing board.

There is a due process of recruiting, selecting and appointing new Trustees (Directors/Governors) and/or reappointing existing Trustees as and when terms of office expire. The number of each category of Trustee (Directors/Governors) and the method of their appoinment is stipulated in the Articles of Association.

Most of the Trustees (Directors/Governors) have an association with the school sometimes over a long period of time. Many are parents of current pupils in the school or former pupils of the school. Most are rooted in the local community.


Trustees role

Trustees (Directors/Governors) are the people responsible under the Academy Trust’s Articles of Association for controlling its management and administration. They have responsibility for directing its affairs, and for ensuring that it is solvent, well-run, and delivering the Trust’s charitable outcomes for the benefit of the public.

This is the same body of people as both the directors of the company and the ‘governors’ of a single Academy Trust like Highams Park school; thus the terms Trustee, Director, Governor are used interchangeably to describe the same people. The Board of Trustees is the equivalent of the Governing board in non-Academy schools and performs a similar function.

The Trustees (Directors/Governors) bring a wide range of skills, knowledge and expertise from their professional lives to the governing board and the school. Amongst the current Board of Trustees there is;  an architect, a solicitor, a quantity surveyor, a chartered accountant and company secretary of a large PLC and a financial risk management consultant as well as the expertise of the staff Trustees (Directors/Governors).

The Board of Trustees has carried out a review of its structure and committees to ensure it is as effective as possible in holding the school to account. Most of the business of the Trust is conducted through full Board of Trustees meetings or through its two main committees,

i) the Policy and Finance Committee (PFAC) and

ii) the Curriculum and Special Needs and Disability Committee.

There are four scheduled full Board of Trustees meetings a year, four PFAC meetings a year and three Curriculum and Special Needs and Disability Committee meetings a year.

There are also ad-hoc committees that are convened when there are matters to deal with that are the preserve of the Board of Trustees (the Governing Board) such as admissions, pupil discipline, staff discipline, staff pay.

As an Academy, the current Board of Trustees (the Governing Board) is made up of five categories of Trustees (Directors/Governors) :

  • Foundation Trustees (Directors/Governors) - can be up to seven foundation trustees (Directors/Governors) appointed by the Members of the Trust
  • Parent Trustees (Directors/Governors) - two elected by the parent body
  • Co-opted Trustees (Directors/Governors)
  • Staff Trustees (Directors/Governors) - two elected by the school staff
  • The Principal - Ex-Officio

The list below shows the names and the category of each of the current Trustees (Directors/Governors). The number of meetings, attendance records for those meetings of each individual Trustee, and the structure and committees of the governing board are contained in the Annual Reports of the Trust in the Downloads section of our website.

Trustees of the Academy Trust

Name Category Term of Office Began Term of Office Ends Relevant business and pecuniary interests declared
Mr Alan Benton Foundation

10/10/2015

10/10/2019

None
Ms Sophie Boyack Foundation 01/07/2018 01/07/2022 None
Ms Claudine Crossley

Parent

08/06/2018

8/06/2022

None
Miss Christina Edward Foundation

17/03/2018

17/03/2022

None
Mr Phillip Grundy 2 Ex-Officio 01/01/2015   None
Ms Ginette Hogan Parent 26/03/2018 25/3/2022 None
Mr Jonathan Kemp Foundation

27/11/2017

27/11/2021

None
Mr Richard Palmer Staff

10/10/2015

10/10/2019

None
Mrs Tracy Penfold 1
Foundation

18/12/2017

18/12/2021

None
Mr Andy Sikora Staff

10/10/2015

10/10/2019

None
Mr Nicky Whitehead Co-opted 06/02/2017 06/02/2021 None
1 Chair of the board        
2 Principal - Ex-officio by virtue of office as headteacher/principal    

 


Responsibilities of Trustees

Each Member of the Trust and each individual Trustee (Director/Governor) have made declarations that they have no pecuniary interests that are material to the Trust's activities. Each Trustee is also required to declare any relevant business and pecuniary interests at the beginning of every meeting.

The Board of Trustees (governing board) of the Academy Trust has wide responsibilities under statute, regulations and the funding agreement.

Principally, it is responsible for ensuring that the Trust’s funds are used only in accordance with the law, its Articles of Association, its Funding Agreement and the Academies Financial handbook issued by the Education Funding and Skills Agency (EFSA).

The Board of Trustees manages the business of the academy trust and may exercise all the powers of the Academy Trust. The Board should focus strongly on the three core functions of governance set out below. The Trustees must ensure compliance with the trust’s charitable objects and with company and charity law. The Board of Trustees signs off the annual accounts and is responsible for adherence to the trust’s funding agreement with the Secretary of State. It is the Trustees who are therefore responsible for the trust’s accountability to Parliament and to the Secretary of State as the Principal Regulator of academies as exempt charities.

The Board of Trustees has wide discretion over its use of the Trust's funds, which it must discharge reasonably and in a way that commands broad public support. It is responsible for the proper stewardship of those funds, including regularity and propriety, and for ensuring economy, efficiency and effectiveness in their use – the three key elements of value for money.

The Board of Trustees focus strongly on the three core functions of governance:

  • ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction
  • holding executive leaders to account for the educational performance of the organisation and its pupils, and the performance management of staff
  • overseeing the financial performance of the organisation and making sure its money is well spent.

Academy Trusts are companies limited by guarantee and exempt charities. The Board of Trustees is subject to the duties and responsibilities of charitable Trustees and company directors as well as any other conditions that the Secretary of State agrees with them. These responsibilities are mutually reinforcing and are there to ensure proper governance and conduct of the Trust.

Trustees also pay attention to the guidance in the Department of Education's Governance Handbook which sets out the legal duties applying to, and core role and strategic functions of, Boards of Trustees.

The Board of Trustees have the following statutory duties as company directors as set out in the Companies Act 2006. These comprise the duties to:

  • act within their powers
  • promote the success of the company
  • exercise independent judgement
  • exercise reasonable care, skill and diligence
  • avoid conflicts of interest
  • not to accept benefits from third parties
  • declare interest in proposed transactions or arrangements

 


Members role

The Members of an Academy Trust are the subscribers to the Trust’s Memorandum of Association, and any other individuals permitted to become Members under the Trust's Articles of Association. Members have an overview of the governance arrangements of the Trust and have the power to appoint Trustees and remove these Trustees.

The DFE guidance contained in the "Governance Handbook - January 2017" says the following about Members of a Trust. "As charitable companies limited by guarantee every trust has Members who have a similar role to the shareholders in a company limited by shares. Most notably they:

  • are signatories to the Articles of Association which includes definition of the Trusts’ charitable object and governance structure (where they are founding Members);
  • may, by special resolution, amend the Articles of Association, subject to any restrictions created by the Trust’s funding agreement or charity law;
  • may, by special resolution (which requires 75% rather than a simple majority of Members to agree) appoint new Members or remove existing Members other than, where there is one, the foundation/ sponsor body and any Members it has appointed; one, the foundation/ sponsor body and any Members it has appointed;
  • have power to appoint Trustees as set out in the Trust’s Articles of Association, and have power under the Companies Act to remove any or all serving Trustees;
  • may by special resolution issue direction to the Trustees to take a specific action;
  • appoint the Trust’s auditors and receive the Trust’s annual audited accounts; and
  • have power to change the name of the charitable company and ultimately, wind up the Academy Trust.

 

The list below shows the names of the current Members of the Highams Park Academy Trust.

Members of the Academy Trust

Name of Member Date appointed Appointed by Relevant business and pecuniary interests declared
Mr Alan Benton 31/07/2011 Original (signatory) member None
Mr Steve Carter 31/07/2011 Original (signatory) member None
Mr Richard Hutchinson 01/01/2015 Academy members None
Mr Paul Philip 12/08/2011 Academy members None
Mr Steve Riches 12/12/2016 Academy members None
Mr Mike Bunyan 01/02/2019 Academy members None
Chair of the Board of Trustees Ex-Officio As per Articles of Association None

 


The Nolan Principles

Members, Trustees and senior executives of the Trust are fully aware of their duties as laid out in HM Treasury's Managing Public Money guidance and other guidance documents issued by the government or its departments and agencies particularly on matters to do with regularity, propriety and value for money.

They also fully embrace the seven principles of public life, the so called "Nolan Principles"

1.      Selflessness

Holders of public office should act solely in terms of the public interest.

2.      Integrity

Holders of public office must avoid placing themselves under any obligation to people or organisations that might try inappropriately to influence them in their work. They should not act or take decisions in order to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves, their family, or their friends. They must declare and resolve any interests and relationships.

3.      Objectivity

Holders of public office must act and take decisions impartially, fairly and on merit, using the best evidence and without discrimination or bias.

4.      Accountability

Holders of public office are accountable to the public for their decisions and actions and must submit themselves to the scrutiny necessary to ensure this.

5.      Openness

Holders of public office should act and take decisions in an open and transparent manner. Information should not be withheld from the public unless there are clear and lawful reasons for so doing.

6.      Honesty

Holders of public office should be truthful.

7.      Leadership

Holders of public office should exhibit these principles in their own behaviour. They should actively promote and robustly support the principles and be willing to challenge poor behaviour wherever it occurs.

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Copyright 2019  Highams Park School.
Highams Park Academy Trust is a charitable company limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales with registered number 07738801
[and VAT registered number 119-0793-09] and whose registered office is at Highams Park School Handsworth Avenue, Highams Park, London, E4 9PJ.
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