How is the Academy of Cheese run, and who runs it?
The Academy of Cheese is a not-for-profit organisation run by volunteer directors to promote
knowledge and appreciation of cheese amongst the industry and consumers. There is a small team,
currently three, of part time paid team members headed by Tracey Colley.
The Academy was set up on 17th May 2016 following activism by Mary Quicke (cheesemaker) and
John Farrand (Guild of Fine Food). Joining with other cheese professionals, the Academy was
formed to deliver cheese education for both consumers and professionals. Inspiration was taken
from the American Cheese Society and the Wines & Spirits Educational Trust. The learning
programme is structured to create a path from beginner cheese lover to Master of Cheese.
The following key principles have been adopted by the Academy from the start:
- The Academy will promote cheese knowledge of cheeses, cheese making, cheese tasting,
cheese history and cheese enjoyment in all sectors of society
- The Academy will be independent of any person or persons, business, market sector or
- The Academy will be not-for-profit
- The Academy’s business should generate a surplus for it to become sustainable and grow.
What type of company is the Academy of Cheese?
The Academy of Cheese is a company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales. It is dedicated and limited within its rules to focus on cheese and dairy education and to be a not-for-profit enterprise.
This means the shareholders (“owners”) of the company act in a similar way to trustees. They have
no rights to the profits or assets of the company, and any profit must be reinvested in the company
to further cheese education.
The Academy owns a trading subsidiary, Academy of Cheese (Development) Ltd (see below).
Who are the shareholders of the Academy?
The current shareholders are Ros Windsor, Charlie Turnbull, Paul Thomas, Mary Quicke and John Farrand.
Who are the directors of the Academy?
The current directors are Ros Windsor, Charlie Turnbull, Paul Thomas, Mary Quicke, John Farrand and Tracey Colley.
How are the shareholders and directors appointed?
Shareholders and directors are appointed according to the Memorandum & Articles of Association which you can access here.
Do Shareholders or Directors financially benefit from the Academy?
All the directors (except Tracey Colley) and shareholders give their time for free for managing the Academy of Cheese. As volunteer directors their contribution qualifies them to be treated as
Academy of Cheese patrons.
As a director Tracey Colley is a paid member of the leadership team. She runs the Academy on a day to day basis.
In addition to their management role, some directors make specific contributions to the Academy learning programme as consultants. These may be paid, and are summarised below:
- Paul Thomas is a paid contributor to the Academy learning programme in his role as
- Charlie Turnbull contributes to the development of the learning programme. This is usually unpaid, but has been paid on one occasion.
The following directors are directors of or are employed by companies who are Training Partners:
- Charlie Turnbull
- Mary Quicke
- John Farrand
- Ros Windsor
Do any other stakeholders – Subscribers, Associates, Members, Fellows, Masters of Cheese, Supporters or Patrons – have a role in the Academy’s governance?
Formal governance of the Academy is limited to directors and shareholders.
Within the Academy there are other stakeholders
- Subscribers: individuals who pay an annual subscription to access Academy services
- Level 1/Associates: individuals who have passed Level 1 Academy of cheese
- Level 2/Members: individuals who have passed Level 2 Academy of cheese
- Level 3/Fellows: individuals who have passed Level 3 Academy of cheese
- Level 4/Masters of Cheese: individuals who have passed Level 4 Academy of cheese
- Training Providers: who teach some or all of the Academy learning programme
- Supporters: businesses who subscribe to the supporter package of the Academy of Cheese
- Patrons: businesses who have become Patrons of the Academy of Cheese.
People who have paid or qualified to become Subscribers, Associates, Members, Fellows, Masters of Cheese, Training Providers, Supporters or Patrons have no formal role in the governance of the Academy. Directors undertake to represent and consult with all stakeholders at all relevant times, assessing their interests and where relevant weighing up competing interests if and when this occurs.
What is the purpose of the Academy of Cheese (Development) Ltd (“ACDL”)?
ACDL is the trading arm of the Academy. While the Academy limits itself to educational activities the ACDL promotes cheese for a profit to support the Academy’s aims. Currently the main source of income of ACDL is from patronage of businesses within the cheese industry. The Academy of Cheese owns 100% of ACDL.
How does the Academy intend to develop?
Currently the Academy is funded approximately 50/50 between educational services provided to delegates, and trading income from ACDL. ACDL income is predominantly patronage from supporting business. It is the Academy’s intention to become 80% supported by education based income, and 20% by patronage. This is intended to provide a more sustainable and robust business structure.
The Academy has an ambition to become a registered charity. Registering as a charity is costly and
requires significant governance structures that would be too onerous at this time. When the
Academy grows to a more substantive size and has reached its goal of being a sustainable business
predominantly funded from income from educational activities, this will be revisited.
The Academy of Cheese is registered in England & Wales, Company number 10184112
Registered office Boyds 20 Sansome Walk Worcester WR1 1LR
VAT Registration Number: 255 9485 60
The ACADEMY OF CHEESE (DEVELOPMENT) LTD is registered in England & Wales, Company number
Registered office Boyds 20 Sansome Walk Worcester WR1 1LR
VAT Registration Number: 286306977
c/o Paxton and Whitfield Unit 6 Willow Court Bourton on the Water Gloucestershire GL54 2HQ