30 July 2019
Only with the agreement of the Regional Schools Commissioner (RSC) acting on behalf of the Secretary of State (the Secretary of State made decisions prior to 2014) can an academy trust change its arrangements. The academy may apply to do so on a voluntary basis. For instance, a single academy may apply because the benefit a larger capacity may have, and also for the improvement of schools offered by being part of a multi-academy trust. The transfer may be initiated by the RSC due to concerns about the performance of the academy or trust responsible.
The sponsored academy process that started in the early 2000s is now well known. The first academy transfer took place in 2012. However, as moving trusts for academies is now more systematically implemented, the method has altered to align more strongly with the method used to create sponsored schools.
The start of the changes (Autumn 2016)
The indicative level of grant funding is: a basic, fast track level (primary £70,000, secondary £80,000); an intermediate level (primary £90,000, secondary £115,000); and a full level (primary £110,000, secondary £150,000). Typically, the amounts granted are offset against any surplus that will be transferred to the new sponsor with the academy. Rather than being claimed annually, grants tend to be paid in one instalment, but some transfers will occasionally be paid in multiple installments before and after the academy is transferred.
Number of academies moving trust
935 academies moved to an academy trust between the years 2013-14 to 2018-19 to a separate academy trust. Of these 935 academies that moved trust, 270 (29%) received a total of £31,312,100 grant funding.
The percentage of schools who have moved trust and obtained grants has fallen from 31% in 2016-17 to 26% in 2018-19. In the financial year 2018-19, a total of 307 schools moved trust and 80 of them got grant funding and 227 had no grant funding.
The amount of moving academies has grown from 21 in 2013-14 to 307 in 2018-19. This is an increase from 0.5% of all England’s open academies in 2013-14 to 3.6% in 2018-19. More details can be found in the table below.
Source: Education & Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) Management Information and Academies Regional Delivery Group (ARDG) Management Information.
(r) figures have been revised from previous publication.
The future of Academy Trusts
Academies change Trusts for a multitude of reasons. From the table data we can see that although the amount of schools converting to Academies has increased, the amount of Academy Trusts in the industry remained fairly continuous at around 3,000 Trusts.
So in the future, Academy Trusts will only grow bigger.
Academies moving to another Academy Trust also need to consider whether the Academy Trust they are transferring to has the same ethos as their own and whether their Academy’s educational and financial and educational performance will improve.
UHY does financial due diligence work for Academies joining existing Academy trusts or for academy trusts welcoming new academies.
Please contact your local UHY Academy School specialist if you would like any assistance or guidance on Academies transferring to Academy Trusts and the impact on your grant funding.