Simon Langton Schools Trust
SIMON LANGTON SCHOOLS’ TRUST
(This document is not a substitute for the various Schemes governing the Trust which should always be referred to on matters of interpretation.)
Name of the Trust:
‘Simon Langton Schools‘, which is also known as ‘Simon Langton Schools Investment Trust’. (Charity No. 307941). In many earlier documents the Trust is referred to as a Foundation but, as this term is now used for those trusts and academies that operate schools on a day to day basis the term ‘Trust’ is used in this document.
As a charitable trust the Trust has to operate in accordance with the provisions of its constitution which, in this case, is a Scheme made under the Charitable Trusts Acts 1853 to 1894 and which was sealed by the Minister of Education on 9th November 1956. There have been subsequent amending Schemes on 26 February 1991, 6 January 1994, 7 March 2001 and 27 July 2017 largely dealing with matters relating to the change in status of Simon Langton Boys’ School, initially to grant maintained and then to a foundation school. Following advice from the Charity Commission that administrative matters could be dealt with by resolution of the Trustees a further amendment was made during the Trustees’ meeting on 4 March 2009.
Amendments of a substantive nature can only be made by a Scheme of the Charity Commission.
The statutory provisions which also govern the operation of the Trust are now contained in the Charities Act 2011.
The Trust is a separate legal entity to the Governing Bodies that manage the Girls’ school and the Boy’s school which, therefore have no say in the operation of the Trust other than the power to appoint some of the Trustees. However, possibly for convenience, until the late 1980’s Trust matters were dealt with as a sub-committee of the Governing Body. At that time there was one governing body covering both schools. In 1989 the Trustees began meeting as a standalone entity.
The schools are able to trace links back to 1248 and the Will of Simon Langton. Over subsequent years land and monies were left to the Trust with the income used to provide education. Continuous and systematic provision of education by the Trust can be traced back to 1881. In the early years of the two Schools the Trust was responsible for all aspects of management of the schools but, gradually, these functions were taken over by central and local government.
The main purpose of the Trust is now to manage its investments. The Trust does however own large parts of the land that the schools occupy but not the school buildings themselves although there have never been any documents regarding this. When there are dealings regarding the land, the Trustees may need to liaise with Kent County Council and the Charity Commission as well as complying with any restrictions in the deeds of the sites.
Until 2007 the Trustees accumulated the annual income to build up substantial sums that were then used to provide additional buildings at the Schools. As it was taking ever longer to accumulate sufficient funds this policy was changed in 2007.
Scope of the Trust:
What the Trust now does.
The Trust is responsible for managing the fund built up over the years. The asset can be preserved in various ways, as property, stocks and shares, or cash funds in periods of transition. Assets purchased have to comply with the Charities Act and it is expected that assets will be an appreciating asset.
The net income generated by the Trust has to be applied in accordance with the provisions of the 1956 Scheme.
The relevant provisions are clauses 13 and 14 of the Scheme and the summary of these provisions which the Trustees have applied for many years is:
‘in providing such special benefits, of any kind not normally provided by the Local Education Authority, for the Schools……’.
In theory, at least, up to half the annual income could be applied to assist ‘boys and girls who are, in the opinion of the (Trustees), in need of financial assistance and who are either resident in the City of Canterbury, or are about to attend, or are attending, or have for not less than two years attended, the Schools’. The Scheme sets out details of what the funds have to be used for. In practice these provisions are not exercised and the half net income is used to provide monies for the two Schools to assist with the provision of ‘recreation and social and physical training’ again ‘not normally provided by the Local Education Authority.
The structure of the Trust is made up of a maximum of 11 Trustees. 8 of these are Governors of the two school, 4 from each. There are in addition 3 co-opted Trustees, who are not required to be governors of either school but should be people with knowledge of the schools who are able to offer expertise to aid with decision making. There is nothing preventing employees of the schools from being trustees.
The term to be served by the Trustees is 4 years for Governor Trustees and 5 years for co-opted Trustees.
The forum at the meeting requires 5 Trustees to be present to be quorate.
There are additional school representatives who are invited as observers to each meeting. These are the head teachers of each school (or their representatives), and the Bursar/Finance Director. Various other school representatives may be invited where appropriate.
The accounts of the Trust are published annually, along with the annual report and details of current Trustees. These documents are uploaded to the Charity Commission website before January 31st following the year end of 31st March.
The amount of income that will be made available is approved at the November meeting, and the list of activities previously submitted by the Head teachers is usually considered at the March meeting.
There are also additional small funds which belong to one or other of the two schools only and are usually legacies or other funds donated for specific purposes . These are also administered through the Trust to avoid the monies being incorporated into the school accounts.
Meetings are to be arranged by the Clerk/Treasurer usually on the evening of the full Governors’ meeting closest to the end of March at the Girls’ School, and the full Governors’ meeting closest to the end of November at the Boys’ school. Because of this timing the Trust meeting is expected to last not more than 1 hour and immediately precede the full Governors meeting.
Extraordinary meetings may be called by the Chair where a key decision needs to be made either to expedite an action or because the topic requires more time than the normal meetings allow.
The Trust has a Clerk /Treasurer with no voting power, who is paid an hourly rate by the Trust. He is self-employed. Other professional expenditure required by the Trust is arranged on an ad hoc basis.