Governance

Accountability Framework

Sunfield Children’s Home and School’s Accountability Framework outlines where responsibility and accountability sits for the key functional areas within its educational provision among tiers of governance and management.

The Board of Directors of Sunfield Children’s Home and School is the legal governing body for the school.  The Board holds and fulfils all statutory responsibilities, in terms of charity, company and education law.  It approves and monitors the School’s educational and financial plans and budgets, admissions, workforce planning and holds legal liability for the Single Central Record and statutory policies.

Delivery of the School’s performance and operation is primarily delegated to the Head Teacher and Senior Leadership Team. The Head Teacher is responsible for meeting all educational and operational targets set by the Board of Directors for outcomes in the School, with support from the Senior Leadership Team.

Sunfield Children’s Home and School is a member of the Ruskin Mill Trust Group.  The Board of Directors has the option of delegating management and day-to-day functions and/or consulting or receiving advice from the Director of Schools and/or wider Executive Team of Ruskin Mill Trust. 

Over the last 30+ years, a distinct research-based educational method known as Practical Skills Therapeutic Education (PSTE) has been developed by Ruskin Mill Trust.  PSTE is the method which informs the curriculum of Sunfield Children’s Home and School and the way in which care is delivered to children in its associated children’s home. 

The Board of Directors decides which specialist support services the School will receive from Ruskin Mill Central Services.  The following is available: school improvement/quality assurance; safeguarding; finance; human resources; staff training and development; health and safety; residential; premises and estates; IT & MIS; admissions; marketing and communications and legal. 

The framework articulates responsibilities in areas where it is important to define roles across the tiers of governance and management.  It does not lay out every legal responsibility of a charity trustee, company director or governor nor prescribe every activity in the remit of the governance layers; rather it is concerned with the core activities that are carried out within each area of operational delivery. The Accountability Framework is updated on an annual basis in order to ensure that delegated responsibilities can be aligned with organisational need.

Trustees

The Trustees at Sunfield provide strategic leadership; setting a path for the school and its students that results in the best standards of education and care. Our Trustees bring with them a wide range of experiences and skills that ensure the school is well led and managed and that the vision of the Trust is braided through all that we do.


Helen Kippax (Chair and Lead for Health & Safety and Safeguarding)

Helen has a diverse background in fine arts, social care and educational development including helping to establish a Steiner School in Sheffield. Helen undertook an HNC in Fine Arts as a mature student and set up and ran her own gallery in Sheffield. Helen joined Ruskin Mill Trust in 2004 and was tasked with setting up the Trust’s third centre, Freeman College in Sheffield. Helen was Principal of Freeman College until 2012 when she became a Trustee of Ruskin Mill Trust and Senior Mentor. Helen has gained an MSc in Practical Skills Therapeutic Education from the University West of England and continues to support and research the method of PSTE as a Trustee for Ruskin Mill Trust. Helen provides mentorship to senior leaders across the Ruskin Mill Trust group.

Aonghus Gordon (Founder and Executive Chair of Ruskin Mill Trust)

Aonghus Gordon is the Founder and Executive Chair of Ruskin Mill Trust.  Aonghus started RMT is 1983 and has worked with colleagues to grow the charity to 12 centres across England, Scotland and Wales. He is passionate about the need for people to break out of dependency and marginalisation, believing that everyone has the potential to shape their own future. 

Aonghus has pioneered its unique method of Practical Skills Therapeutic Education (PSTE), inspired by Rudolf Steiner, John Ruskin and William Morris’s ideas about social renewal, healthy human development and the importance of art, crafts and land work. Thousands of young people have benefited from this integrative education method.

Vivian Griffiths

Vivian brings knowledge and experience of biodynamic agriculture and Camphill Communities to Sunfield School and Children’s Home. Vivian has been involved in Camphill Communities since 1972 where he started as a young co-worker at Botton Village. His passion for gardening led him to establish and work on various Camphill and community gardens as well as gaining a National Certificate in Horticulture from Somerset College of Agriculture in 1976. Over the years, Vivian has helped develop Camphill Communities throughout England, and continued his biodynamic agricultural practices. Most recently, Vivian has been a Garden Volunteer at Brantwood, John Ruskin’s home in the Lake District. He has been heading up The Biodynamic Step by Step Gardening Courses, which began in 2018, at Brantwood and nearby Ulverston.  As a Trustee, Vivian has responsibility for quality assuring Biodynamic Practices at both Sunfield and across the Trust.

Constantin Court

Constantin joined Ruskin Mill Trust in 2007. Constantin has a vast experience in social and educational establishments, working across different regulatory frameworks in organisations who apply the insights of Rudolf Steiner in a contemporary way. Constantin has worked with children and adults in Germany, Palestine, Israel, Switzerland and Egypt before coming to the UK. He was instrumental in developing Ruskin Mill Trust’s first school, Brantwood Specialist School and is now Director of Practical Skills Therapeutic Education (PSTE) and a member of the Executive Team of Ruskin Mill Trust.  Constantin is responsible for quality assuring PSTE and overseeing the staff development and training programme (Hiram Education and Research Team (HEaRT).

Toby Zundel

Toby is a Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist and a member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists. He has been working with children and adolescents for 20 years and currently leads a specialist NHS CAMHS service in London that provides an alternative to inpatient care in the form of a day service and outreach team. Toby has also undertaken extensive research work on subjects that include engaging adolescents who self-harm and intensive community treatment, including two randomised controlled trials. He is widely published and has co-authored a book, Self-harm in young people, a Therapeutic Assessment manual. Toby has been a Psychiatric Advisor to Ruskin Mill Trust since 2014, supporting a wide range of students and advising staff. He brings his expertise in mental health and child and adolescent psychiatry to the Sunfield Board of Trustees.

Tara Gratton

Tara started her career in education in 1992 as a teacher in a primary school. In 2004, Tara took up her first Head Teacher role and over the following years has worked with a range of schools and education federations, as a head and executive head, to improve their outcomes and quality. Tara has now developed a proven track record of leading outstanding schools, and for supporting and transforming schools that are struggling. Tara has been a safeguarding lead, member of a local safeguarding board, governor and board member for a range of other educational establishments and has a strong understanding of governance and compliance. Tara is Ruskin Mill Trust’s Regional Director for the centres in the South and brings her skills and extensive experience to the Sunfield Board of Trustees.

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