Pyrford C E Primary School Academy
Pyrford Academy is part of the Diocese of Guildford Church of England umbrella trust. An academy trust is a charitable company set up to run an academy and is responsible for the strategic direction of the academy. The Academy received Department for Education status in 2014. Academy trusts have two layers of governance; the members of the trust and the board of directors (governors). Pyrford exists as a trust academy with a separate legal entity within the overarching umbrella trust. This church school trust is a standalone academy with its own Articles of Association, charitable status and funding agreement with the Secretary of State.
Memorandum and Articles of Association
The Memorandum and Articles of Association are the documents which create the academy trust, the body responsible for the academy. They are lodged with Companies House thereby making the academy trust a company. The Articles of Association explain the governance of the academy trust (members and directors) and how that governance structure should operate (eg how meetings are held and what would disqualify a director). The articles make clear that governors may exercise all the powers of the academy trust.
The legal resonsibility for running the academy lies with the academy trust. All academy trusts must comply with charity and company law. The academy Articles of Association reflect the statutory requirements of the DfE's model Articles of Association for church schools, and as a registered company under company law produce accounts that give a "true and fair view" and follow UK accounting standards. The Academies Financial Handbook detail these requirements.
The members are akin to company shareholders and have ultimate control of the academy trust. They appoint directors and ensure the charitable company achieves its objectives, sign off the financial accounts and annual report. There are four members. Two represent the Guildford Diocese umbrella trust and are appointed by the Diocesan Board of Education and the Diocesan Board of Finance. The Rector of Wisley with Pyrford represents the Church of England parish and the Chairman of the Board of Directors represents the appointed directors.
The governors are reponsible for the three core strategic functions:
- Strategic direction of the academy
- Holding the headteacher to account for education performance. Both headteacher and staff are accountable through an agreed annual statutory appraisal cycle.
- Overseeing the financial performance of the school.
A director of a church school trust fulfils the role of a Foundation Goverrnor in a church school. The directors should:
- Demonstrate a commitment to the distinctive ethos of the academy and its mission and role as a member of the Diocesan family of schools.
- Have an interest in and commitment to the school's Religious Education and the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of its pupils.
- Be aware of and show commitment to the school's provision for the daily act of Collective Worship.
- Encourage the school to develop in a way that is consistent with its Church of England foundation, working in partnership with parish and diocese to meet the needs and circumstances of the pupils and their diverse background.
A director of an academy trust is a school director (governor), a company director and a charity trustee. They also ensure compliance with chairty law and academy trust's funding agreement. The composition of the board of directors is stipulated within the Articles of Association and the financial agreement with the DfE in the Memorandum of Understanding.
The board of directors are legally reponsible for the liabilities of the academy and must ensure that there is adequate insurance cover to support its activities. The academy trust is required to have employer and public liability. Personal liability will not arise if governors carry out their duties acting in good faith, honestly, reasonably and within their powers not to incur public liability.
Conflicts of Interest
Any director who has, or can have, any direct or indirect personal interest which conflicts with his or her duties as a directort must disclose this to the board and that person should withdraw from that meeting and should not vote.
In all academy trusts the directors should have or develop the following skills to make an effective board of directors.
- Have the appropriate skills to be able to set up operatonal structures and to put procedures in place to ensure the academy is run effectively.
- Have corporate responsibility and to act at all times in good faith.
- Take advantage of the greater autonomy to make decisions and to act independently, holding the academy trust to account to ensure educational standards are raised as a feature of continuous school improvement.
- Be accountable to children, parents, the community, the academy trust, Diocese and the Secretary of State.
Annually the board of directors will review their appropriate corporate skills base and directors are committed to attending internal and external continuing professional briefings and courses.
Please also see these documents: