Academy schools

Nationally, we are one of the leading advisers to schools and the wider education sector and are currently working with more than 500 academy, free and independent schools across the UK.

2023 academy benchmarking report

We are now in our 11th year of preparing our detailed analysis of the performance of academies across England and Wales. 

This year our benchmarking report once again covers around 1,400 academies, with the sample including a mix of our own clients plus some other trusts, as in previous years, to ensure we cover all areas of the country.

Once again, the sample includes a mix of our own clients as well as other trusts to ensure we cover all areas of the country. MATs, secondary academies and primary academies are reviewed and, in some areas, we have drilled down further into the MAT data to analyse different sizes of MAT.

Included at the end of this report, as in previous years, is a useful benchmarking page which allows you to plot your own trust’s data against the average per pupil results in key areas. If you would like a tailored report with a graphical representation of your results, we can help – please either speak to your usual UHY adviser, or get in touch using the form below and let us know.

UHY front page
6th May 2022
UHYs 2023 benchmarking report

Our benchmarking report covers around 1,400 academies, with the sample including a mix of our own clients plus some other trusts.

Our academy schools experience 

Our education specialists have years of experience in the sector and have a particular expertise in academy schools – our offices around the UK now act for over 500 academies and free schools, including the first special needs school to convert to an academy. A 2023 auditor report from the ESFA ranks UHY as third in the UK by the total number of trusts that we audit, and sixth in the UK by total GAG value of the trusts that we work with.

As experienced auditors and advisers to the sector, whether you are thinking of converting to academy school status or have already done so, we can help you with the complex array of issues you will need to deal with from best value audit and accounts preparation to fundraising and VAT issues. We will provide you with an independent opinion on your financial situation and recommend any necessary adjustments or improvements to your controls and processes for future years.

Services to academy schools

The academy sector can be a challenging one, with a constantly changing set of reporting requirements.

Our experts keep themselves up to date with all the Education and Skills Funding Agency’s (ESFA) requirements so that they can keep their clients abreast of regulatory and other changes. They also prepare regular academy newsletters on topical issues that affect academies.

Our services to academy schools and free schools include:

  • information to be considered in the academy conversion process;
  • year end statutory audit and Academy Return completion;
  • preparation of your accounts in line with the ESFA Accounts Direction and Charity SORP;
  • Teachers Pension EOYC audits;
  • advice in connection with the Academies Financial Handbook;
  • internal scrutiny services to ensure you comply with all aspects of internal financial management and control;
  • VAT reviews and advice on the best method for academies to reclaim VAT;
  • advice on the best structure for commercial trading activities, such as the use of subsidiaries;
  • assistance with the preparation of  March Accounts returns;
  • assistance with Budget Forecasts;
  • employment tax issues;
  • governor training;
  • establishing key financial policies and procedures including risk management and internal control;
  • assistance with choosing and setting up an appropriate accounting system;
  • bookkeeping and support to your finance function, including interim appointments; and
  • the preparation of management accounts to aide reporting to governors.

Useful resources

Download our summaries of the Academies Accounts Direction and Academies Financial Handbook using the buttons below. To view all of our latest academies resources, visit the insights section of our website and search using the filter 'academies' 

The next step

More information about the services we provide to academy schools can be accessed using the navigation to the right. If you would like to discuss these services in more detail, please contact one of our academy school specialists at your nearest location, or complete the contact form below.

Let's talk! Send an enquiry to your local UHY expert.


What our clients say

“UHY have been invaluable during our early months as an academy.  We are able to raise any query or concern and will receive a prompt and reassuring answer making us feel our custom is valued and important to UHY.”

Jean Simmons, Dane Court Grammar School

“The UHY team have been excellent to work with – at all times the team conducts itself with utmost professionalism and it is obvious that they are dedicated to what they are doing. I especially value the way that they challenge us; fair and open and always with a view to helping/making improvements rather than trying to ‘catch us out’.”

Ben March, STEP Academy Trust

“We have worked with UHY since we were first established in 2010.  UHY continues to provide a top rated service for us as a large academy Trust as it did during our infancy.  The technical support the team have provided me, as a newly established Finance Director, has been invaluable.”

Lee Miller, Thinking Schools Academy Trust