Kirkdale School Limited

Kirkdale School Limited
Kirkdale School was:
1. A Limited Company
2. An Industrial Provident Society (IPS)

Understanding what this means:
Administratively, Kirkdale School Ltd’s de-facto predecessor was New Sherwood School.

New Sherwood School was a progressive school based in Epsom in Surrey which operated as both a day and a boarding school.
New Sherwood School was both a Limited Company and an Industrial Provident Society (IPS).  When New Sherwood School was dissolved its assets were transferred to Kirkdale School.

This was done as a change of name of school under the provisions of the Industrial Provident Societies Act 1893 as amended by section 2 (2) of the Industrial Provident Societies (Amendment) Act 1954 and the Industrial Provident Societies Acts 1893-1961.

The process was that a meeting was held on the 23rd of April 1965 at which a resolution was passed transferring the name of New Sherwood School Ltd to Kirkdale School Ltd.

On the 17th of May 1965 a statutory declaration confirming the above resolution was made under the provisions of the Statutory Declarations Act 1835.
This was then appended to an application to the Chief Registrar of Friendly Societies for a change of name on 24th of May 1965 (John Powlesland’s signature appears on this application against the term ‘Secretary’).

The application was approved by the Chief Registrar of Friendly Societies on the 11th of June 1965.

The advantages of this move were to:
1. Enable New Sherwood School to be wound up in as socially beneficial manner as possible, transferring its remaining assets to an organisation with similar aims.
2. Enable Kirkdale School to become a Limited Company and an Industrial Provident Society

Advantages to Kirkdale School of becoming a Limited Company.
The main advantage was to limit the personal (financial) liabilities of those running the school so long as they acted within the law.
By forming a corporate body those running the school could in the name of the school, open bank accounts, raise funds e.g. by charging school fees and spend money e.g. paying for the lease on the building, buying equipment, employing people etc.

Advantages of becoming an Industrial Provident Society.
Industrial provident societies operate in a manner more commonly understood as ‘cooperative’. In particular members have voting rights and can chose who to elect as Directors.

A clash of models and its resolution
The model of a limited company run by Directors elected by members of the associated Industrial Provident Society did not fit with the original Kirkdale School model of a parent owned and parent directed school.

The idea that a small number of parents voted in as Directors should have the final and legal say in how the school was run did not fit well with the aims and intentions of the nucleus of parents who had started and were running the school at the time.

There is no written record remaining of the decision making process but a narrative account from Oliver Elphick, who was variously a parent, teacher and one of the Directors is as follows:

Kirkdale School Ltd was a company limited by guarantee[I think] All parents and teachers [I think] had £1 shares which was the guarantee [ I may have got the financial details wrong]. As such we had to have a board of Directors to make decisions. David L was Chair initially. I became a Director later. Later we decided that all Directors’ meeting should be held together with parents and staff, and Directors stated that they would formally move adoption by the Directors of motions submitted and agreed by the total meeting so as to fulfil legal requirements that decisions must be made by the Board of Directors.

[NB Anne Elphick was for a short time in the early 1960 on the staff of New Sherwood School. Quentin Elphick attended the nursery and Amaryllis Elphick travelled with them in her pram.]
The relevant key documents are attached below

Urban myths

Myth: ‘Kirkdale School was a registered charity’.

  • Kirkdale School was not a registered charity.
  • No document claiming the school was a registered charity gives its registration number.
  • The Charity Commission has no record of any such registration.

Myth: Kirkdale School was set up and run as a parent-teacher co-operative.

  • Kirkdale school was set up by and funded by John and Susie Powlesland.
  • The school then became a Limited Company and Industrial Provident Society
  • At the outset the teachers were parents of children in the school so there was no ‘parent : teacher’ dichotomy.
  • The over whelming majority of parents who were involved at the start and in the early years of the schools existence were experienced qualified teachers. Not all taught in the School. Some taught in other schools and some worked in non teaching jobs in the day and taught at Kirkdale in after-school sessions.
  • Some parents, including Directors, were not teachers but professionals in other fields and brought other expertise to the management of the school.
  • ‘Staff’ were not necessarily parents or teachers.
  • ‘Staff’ and Teachers were not necessarily members of Kirkdale School Ltd or the Kirkdale School Industrial Provident Society.

Myth: Kirkdale Camps ( i.e. camps generally held in the Summer and Easter school holidays), were part of Kirkdale School

  • Kirkdale camps were not part of Kirkdale School Ltd or the Kirkdale School Industrial Provident Society.
  • Kirkdale camps were one of two outputs of a series of camps and meetings set up and / or called by John and Susie Powlesland in the early 1960’s under the working title of the ‘Progressive Schools and Camps Association’. [Editors note. I am currently checking the public record for confirmation of word order and dates but this info comes from my memory and narrative accounts]
  • John and Susie Powlesland remained sole owners of Kirkdale Camps which they continued to organise and to lead personally well into the mid to late 1970s.
  • Separately, Kirkdale School had term-time camps for the Wasps and Hornets.






Notes to assist the reader: Summary explanations of Limited Companies and Industrial Provident Societies

Limited Companies
Ownership: Every limited company has ‘members’ – people or organisations who own shares in the company.
Directors are responsible for running the company. Directors often own shares, but they don’t have to.
Legal responsibilities: There are many legal responsibilities involved with being a director and running a limited company.
Most limited companies are ‘limited by shares’. This means that the shareholders’ responsibilities for the company’s financial liabilities are limited to the value of shares that they own but haven’t paid for.

A company limited by shares issues 100 shares valued at £1 each when it’s set up. Its 2 shareholders own 50 shares each and have both paid in full for 25 of these.
If the company goes bust, the maximum the shareholders have to pay towards its outstanding bills is £50 – the value of the remaining 25 shares that they’ve each not paid for.
Company directors aren’t personally responsible for debts the business can’t pay if it goes wrong, as long as they haven’t broken the law.
Source (accessed 04.04.14)

Industrial Provident Societies
An industrial and provident society is an organisation conducting an industry, business or trade, either as a co-operative or for the benefit of the community, and is registered under the Industrial and Provident Societies Act 1965.
Source (accessed 04.04.14):


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