Introduction to the Role of the Corporation

The Henley College Corporation is the governing body of the College, providing strategic direction and acting as a "critical friend" to the College's leadership team.

The legal framework for the existence of The Henley College Corporation stems from the Further and Higher Education Act 1992 (primary legislation) and later amendments to it. The effect of the Act was to create a large number of independent colleges with exempt charitable status, funded mainly by the public purse. Before 1992, colleges were funded via their local authorities who exerted considerable control over their finances. The new college corporations took independent control of their affairs within guidelines issued from time to time by the Department for Education (secondary legislation). These include the Instrument and Articles of Government for the Corporation. As of March 2012, due to changes in the Education Act 2011, the Corporation may now agree its own Instrument and Articles, provided that these conform to the Further and Higher Education Act, as amended by later legislation.

In addition to adhering to the Act mentioned above, the Corporation also has to adhere to Charity Law, Employment Law, Child Protection and Equality legislation. Not everyone who is a member of the Corporation can be expected to be expert in all of these areas. The aim, therefore, is to ensure that the Corporation members have varied and complimentary expertise to bring to the role. The Corporation Secretary has the job of ensuring that the Corporation operates within its powers, that it follows agreed and proper procedures and that the business of the corporation is conducted smoothly and efficiently. The Instrument and Articles set out the overall rules to follow and the Standing Orders of the Corporation provide more detail about how the rules will be applied in practice.

The Corporation is responsible for finding out what the needs are of the local community and for agreeing the strategic direction of the College in partnership with the Principal and the Senior Leadership Team. The Corporation also takes responsibility for its own conduct and is expected to ensure that, not only the College, but the Corporation itself performs its duties to the best of its ability.

Periodically, therefore the Corporation will be expected to review and approve changes to the following:-

  • Code of Ethics for Staff and Governors
  • Code of Conduct for Corporation Members (the Corporation also agreed to adopt the English Colleges Foundation Code of Governance with effect from August 2012)
  • College Mission Statement
  • Statement of College Educational Character
  • Strategic Plan
  • Annual Financial Report and Accounts
  • Annual Financial Budget
  • Pay and benefits structure and employment policies.
  • Policies relating to the expulsion of students from the College.

Under the Common Inspection Framework, the College will undergo periodic inspections by Ofsted (with no notice given) and governors will be asked about the mission, strategy and performance of the College and be given an assessment grade that contributes to the overall grading of the College.

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