The Education Funding Agency (EFA) has lifted a financial notice to improve (FNTi) from academy sponsor The Education Fellowship.

Johnson Kane, chief executive of the fellowship, said “We are all very pleased to have confirmation that the financial notice to improve has been lifted.”

The FNTi was imposed in April 2014 because of significant weaknesses in financial management and governance and breaches of the trust’s articles of association relating to payments received by the trustees.

The trust was told to urgently resolve the breaches, ensure compliance in the areas of trustee appointments and benefits, hold an annual general meeting, and formally ratify the chief executive officer as the accounting officer.

The FNTi told the academy sponsor to submit a corporate scheme of delegation and a full set of corporate policies creating an internal control framework  to the board for review and approval.

Mr Kane said the fellowship, which is responsible for 12 primary and secondary schools in Northamptonshire, Wiltshire and Berkshire, was a changed organisation complete with a new set of trustees.

He said the fellowship – which receives advice and support from the John Lewis Partnership – has developed a new structure and ethos through co-ownership.

According to the academy trust, staff and students at their academies are “fellows” with a voice at the most senior level of the fellowship through their elected representatives on the school forum and the fellowship council.

Deputy chief executive Lizzie Rowe said the organisation takes the complete (co-ownership) model from John Lewis to ensure democracy flows through from pupils to the executive team.

Formed in 2012, The Education Fellowship has also forged links with private schools. One of its academies – Desborough College – has formed an alliance with Radley College, while Clarendon Academy is supported by Winchester College.

The fellowship also works closely with a number of universities, including Nottingham, Durham and the University of Bath.



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