Saturday, 12 February 2011

Academies The Law

School Academies and The Law

Application to convert

• The Agreement lasts for at least 7 years and Secretary of State has to give 7 years notice of termination.

• From the conversion date the relevant independent school standards are treated as met.

Duty to consult

Foundation schools and voluntary schools with a foundation have to consult and consent is required before they can apply to enter into an academy agreement from :

• Trustees

• The body which appoints their foundation governors

Before a maintained school is converted to an academy, the governing body must consult:

• whoever it considers appropriate

• on whether the school should be converted to an academy

• either before or after an academy order or an application for an academy order is made

Articles of Association


No charge can be made for admission to or attendance at an academy except those specified in the terms of the articles or funding agreement.

Status of the academy trust :

• The academy proprietor (trust) is a charity and

• A company limited by guarantee registered in England or Wales

Which means it must comply with relevant sections of the Company Act 2006 and Charities Act 2006 and related statutes.

Some requirements for the trust:

• To advance for the public benefit, education in the UK - establish and run a school which provides a broad balanced curriculum – the object

• To co-operate with other academies, maintained schools and statutory bodies to further the object.

• To provide services to the wider community (all ages)

• To research new techniques in education and publish the results

• Can delegate investment of funds not immediately required to a financial expert - governors set the investment policy and monitor

• To provide indemnity insurance for governors – does not cover wilful breach of regulations or defence costs if found guilty

• No bonuses or dividends can be paid to any member of the Academy Trust

• Member of the trust who is not a governor can receive reasonable payment for services, interest on loans, rent etc

• Liability of trustees limited to £10 each for members of the trust

Constitution Trust Members are:

• Those who signed Memorandum of Association

• A stated number of members appointed by foundation or other appointing body

• Person appointed by Secretary of State – Only in exceptional circumstances

• Chair of Governors

• Members of the trust can appoint and remove additional members as they see fit by unanimous agreement, in writing

All members sign either consent form or the register of members

Appointing bodies can remove and replace those members they appointed – notice is given to the Office

Insolvency automatically disqualifies a member

Members can resign providing this would leave at least 3 members in office.

First Governing Body – The Trust


Every member of the academy trust undertakes to contribute up to £10 should the trust be wound up while he or she is a member.

Information the Registrar must be given:

• First Directors, (trustees) their names and addresses

• First company secretary

• Their written consent to acting in their relevant capacity Articles

Companies Act 2006


• The trustees are the governing body or

• A small number of trustees set the strategic direction and appoints a governing body to which it delegates duties.

Governing Bodies comprise:

• At least 3 members

• No maximum limit on the number of members (but this may be set in the Articles)

Staff Governors

• appointed by Trust Members

• up to 1/3 of total no of governors

• includes Principal who is ex-officio

Parent Governors

• Must be parent of registered pupils at the time of the election to stand for election

• Elected by parents of registered pupils

• Secret ballot if contested

• After the election any remaining vacancies may be filled by GB appointing:

Parent of a pupil, or if not

Parent of a child of compulsory school age

Co-opted Governors

• Governors may co-opt up to 3 governors

• Staff may not be co-opted if this would mean that staff totalled more than 1/3 of the GB

LA Governor

• Appointed by LA

• No other governor may have LA connections

The total number of LA affiliated governors must not exceed 20% - if it does one of them has to resign.

If any member or governor believes that the Governing Body or trust has come under the influence of the LA they have to report this to the Trust.

Governing Body Procedures

• The governing body shall have regard to but is not bound by guidance on governance published by the Secretary of State

• Subject to the Articles, governors may regulate proceedings as they think fit

• At least 3 general meetings must be held per year, convened by the Secretary

• Any 3 governors can requisition a meeting by writing to the Secretary

• Notice of the meeting and the agenda are sent to the governors 14 clear days beforehand unless 90% agree to reduce this timescale

• Chair or Vice Chair can call meetings at shorter notice to discuss urgent matters

• Resolutions or variations can only be discussed if on the agenda

• If a meeting is adjourned, a further meeting must be called within 7 days to complete the business on the agenda

• Quorum for meetings is 3 governors or 1/3 of the total number of governors in office Whichever is the greater.

• If additional or further governors have been appointed by the Secretary of State, (exceptional circumstances) they must make up the majority of the quorum

• If the meeting is inquorate, governors may only fill vacancies or call a general meeting

• The quorum is 2/3 of the total number of governors (rounded up to a whole number) to vote on:

appointment of a parent governor

removal of a governor appointed by the governing body (this does not apply to parent governors)

vote on the removal of the Chair

• Decisions are made by majority of votes and the Chairman has a casting vote

• Resolutions passed must be signed by one or more governors

• Agendas, draft minutes approved by the Chairman, signed minutes and any report or other paper considered at a meeting should be made available at the academy for anyone wishing to inspect them as soon as is practicable.

• Governors can designate minutes as confidential

• Governors can participate in meetings by telephone/video conferencing provided

- they give 48 hrs notice and contact details

- governors have access to appropriate equipment

- if the contact cannot be made, the meeting can continue provided it is quorate

• Governors may be paid reasonable expenses – not foreign travel

• Governors (and immediate relatives) may not receive payment for goods or services

• Employees can be appointed to the governing body and receive their salary but no additional payment

• They must withdraw from a meeting where their contractual arrangements, pay or performance are discussed

• Disqualification criteria similar to those for GBs of maintained schools apply to academy governors


Secretary of State (SoS) may issue a Warning Notice stating what action is required by when if:

• Standards of performance of pupils unacceptably low or

• Serious breakdown in management or governance or

• Safety of pupils threatened

Additional Governors

May be appointed by the SoS if:

• Failure to comply with a warning notice

• Drop by 2 categories in Ofsted judgement Articles 60-61

AGM held at least every 15 months in addition to General Meetings

2 weeks notice unless 90% of voting members agree otherwise

Proxy can be appointed

Quorum is 2 members entitled to vote (can be proxy)

If a meeting is not quorate within half an hour from the time appointed for the meeting, or if members leave during a meeting a meeting so that it is no longer quorate, it is adjourned to the same day in the next week at the same time and place or to such time and place as determined by members.

A Governor, whether a member or not, is entitled to attend and speak at any general meeting.
Decisions are made by a show of hands unless a poll is demanded. Proxy votes may be used in a poll.

Any organisation which is a member of an academy trust may appoint some-one to act on its behalf. They have the right to participate and vote.

Transfer of Funds

Any funds allocated to the school and unspent just prior to the conversion are transferred to the proprietor of the academy. There are regulations to determine the amount.

Staff Procedures will be checked by Ofsted.

Responsibility of proprietor to ensure all members of staff have received enhanced CRB check confirming their suitability to work with children prior to starting or as soon as practically possible after starting.

Agencies may be commissioned to request CRB checks on behalf of an academy.

Enhanced CRB required for Chair of Governors

The Chair of Governors’ certificate must be counter-signed by Secretary of State.

The Chair is responsible for ensuring all other governors undertake enhanced CRB checks.

Secretary of State may require all governors to be CRB checked via DfE in exceptional circumstances

If a Chair already has an enhanced CRB certificate issued via LA – no check is necessary.

Teaching Staff The academy may only employ qualified (or eligible to do specified work) teachers to:

• Plan and prepare lessons
• Deliver lessons to pupils
• Assess the development, progress and attainment of pupils
• Report on this

The exception is when they were employed under TUPE arrangements and had previously been carrying out these tasks.

The trust has to ensure that all teachers have access to the Teacher’s Pension Scheme
As academies have the status of independent schools, they can operate outside the School Teachers' Pay and Conditions document (STPCD) and the National Conditions of Service for School
Teachers, usually known as the Burgundy Book.

However, due to TUPE arrangements, staff salaries are unlikely to change immediately after transfer. Arrangements for new staff need not comply.

The Department for Education (DfE) states that it is the responsibility of the academy to agree levels of the pay and conditions of service with its employees and to employ appropriate staff numbers.

Where an existing school becomes an academy, the staff receive a salary level in accordance with the STPCD and have their contracts protected under the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 1981 (TUPE). Variations from the STPCD may occur for new staff.

Curriculum Characteristics are that it will be either :

• Balanced and broadly based and include English, maths and sciense up to age 16
• For secondary education, an emphasis on a particular subject area(s) specified in the arrangements
• Provide education for pupils of different abilities
• Provide education for pupils wholly or mainly drawn from the area in which the school is situated

Or to make provision for pupils with SEN (Special Schools)

Provision has to be made for all pupils to have religious education following the agreed syllabus

Requirements for the teaching of RE and a daily act of collective worship apply as if the academy were a community, foundation or voluntary school.

Denominated academies eg RC C of E – the trust must ensure that collective worship is inspected.

If the acadremy is a secondary school, its curriculum has an emphasis on a particular area(s) specified in the Funding Agreement

The Trust has to ensure that:
• the academy complies with guidance issued by the Secretary of State on assessment
• pupils are protected from inappropriate teaching materials
• they learn the nature of marriage and its importance of family life and bringing up children
• the Academy complies with any guidance issued by the Secretary of State to ensure that pupils take part in assessments and teacher assessments as for maintained schools
• the Academy is subject to monitoring and moderation of assessment arrangements for all key stages
• no courses are offered at the academy leading to external qualifications described in section 96 of the learning and Skills Act 2000 unless the Secretary of State gives approval.

Exclusion The Academy Trust has to ensure that:

• the Principal acts in accordance with the law as if the academy were a maintained school
• the LA is informed of an exclusion decision as is required of maintained schools
• the Principal and the GB have regard to the Secretary of State’s Guidance on exclusions as if the academy were a maintained school
• the academy sets up the appeal panel which must be impartial and follow the Secretary of State’s Guidance – the panel’s decision is binding on the academy
• the GB is not expected to seek the advice of a LA Officer when considering an exclusion
• LA Officer may attend the hearing at the request of a parent
• Money does not follow pupils permanently excluded unless an Exclusion Agreement has been made with the LA to enable this.

Admissions The Academy Trust is the admissions authority

The trust will:

• take part in the Admissions forum set up by LA and have regard to its advice
• Participate in the co-ordinated admission arrangements operated by the LA
• Participate in the local in – year fair access protocol
• Ensure that dissatisfied parents and relevant pupils (sixth form entry) have the right to appeal to an Independent Appeal panel
• Ensure arrangements for appeals comply with the Admissions Appeals Code published by DfE for

Foundation and VA schools

The determination of the appeals panel is binding on all parties

The Secretary of State may direct an academy to admit a pupil after consultation after:

• Application made by the LA
• Where the academy has failed to act in accordance with this annex, the Codes or equalities legislation.

The academy can be directed to amend its admissions arrangements where they don’t comply with the School Admissions Code or Admissions Appeals Code

Faith Academies

The faith body:

• Has to be consulted on admission arrangements
• Has the right to issue guidance on the adoption of faith criteria
• Has the right of objection to admission arrangements
• CE Dioceses also have the right to approve the disposal of land or premises. Academies Act 2010

The academy is required to employ a Finance Officer and inform the Secretary of State of the appointment.

A budget plan has to be agreed by the governing body each financial year (Sep-Aug)

When using the General Annual Grant (GAG) paid to the academy

• Academy trust is required to abide by the Academies Financial Handbook
• Statements of income and expenditure, balance sheets must be produced in the form and frequency the SoS may reasonably request
• Financial statements, Directors’ Report, annual accounts and annual return are to be filed by 31 December each Academy Financial Year
• Accounts to be audited annually by an auditor approved by the SoS
• Annual accounts to be filed in the Companies Registry
• The academy must publish on its web-site:
- Annual accounts
- Annual Report
- Memorandum and Articles of Association
- Funding Agreement
- Names of members of the trust

The trust can, to further its object:

• Set up a bank account
• Raise funds but not undertake any substantial permanent trading action
• Acquire, alter, improve and dispose of property (subject to required consents)
• Offer scholarships Funding Agreement v4 71

Children in Care The Academy Trust is bound by same statutes and regulations as maintained schools and have regard to any guidance and Code of practice as maintained schools for children in care.

School meals

• If the provision of lunches is requested by pupils or on their behalf, the academy must provide them unless it would be unreasonable to do so
• Charges may be levied
• Free lunches must be provided for eligible pupils. Funding Agreement v4 31
SEN Academies must comply with “The SEN obligations” which are the obligations imposed on governing bodies of maintained schools by—
(a) Chapter 1 of Part 4 of EA 1996 (children with special educational
needs), and
(b) regulations made under any provision of that Chapter. “The SEN obligations” are the obligations imposed on governing bodies of
maintained schools by—
(a) Chapter 1 of Part 4 of EA 1996 (children with special educational
needs), and
(b) regulations made under any provision of that Chapter.

The Academy Trust must ensure that

• Pupils with SEN are admitted on an equal basis with others in accordance with its admissions policy

If an academy is to be named by the LA in a statement:

• the trust must be given 15 days notice
• the academy must consent unless the child’s inclusion would be incompatible with the efficient education of other pupils
• the trust must have regard to the relevant guidance issued by the Secretary of State to maintained schools.

Full credit and Thanks to NCOGS. The full document can be downloaded from NCOGS here

No comments:

Post a Comment