22 July 2019
An academy can change trust arrangements only with the agreement of the Regional Schools Commissioner (RSC) acting on behalf of the Secretary of State (prior to 2014, decisions were taken by the Secretary of State). The academy may apply to do so voluntarily – for example, a single academy may apply because it wants to benefit from the greater capacity and school improvement that is offered from being part of a multi-academy trust; or the transfer may be initiated by the RSC because of concerns about the performance of the academy or the academy trust responsible for it.
The sponsored academy process, which began in the early 2000s, is now well established. The first academy transfer of an academy was carried out in 2012.
However, as academies moving trust has become more systematically implemented, the process has changed to align more closely with that used for establishing sponsored academies.
The new process
These changes were introduced in Autumn 2016.
The indicative grant funding levels are:
- a basic, fast track level (£70,000 primary, £80,000 secondary)
- an intermediate level (£90,000 primary, £115,000 secondary), and
- a full level (£110,000 primary, £150,000 secondary).
The amounts of the awarded grant are typically offset against any surplus that will transfer with the academy to the new sponsor. The grants tend to be paid in one instalment rather than claimed annually, however, on occasion some transfers will be paid in multiple instalments both before and after the academy is transferred to a new academy trust.
Number of academies moving trust
A total of 935 academies moved to a different academy trust between the six financial years 2013-14 to 2018-19. Of these, 270 (29%) received grant funding of £31,312,100 for the transfer.
The proportion of academies moving trust and that have received grant funding has decreased from 31 percent in 2016-17 to 26 percent in 2018-19.
A total of 307 academies moved trust in the financial year 2018-19. 80 of these were provided with grant funding and 227 did not receive any grant funding.
The number of academies moving trust has increased from 21 in the financial year 2013-14, to 307 in 2018-19. This represents an increase from 0.5% of all open academies in England in 2013-14, to 3.6% in 2018-19. More detail is available 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.
Reasons for changing Trust
Academies change Trusts for a variety of reasons, however, as can be seen from the information, whilst the number of schools converting to Academies has increased, the number of Academy Trusts in the sector has remained reasonably constant at around 3,000 Trusts. So it seems Academy Trusts will only become larger in the future.
Academies transferring to another Academy Trust also need to consider whether the Academy Trust they are transferring to has the same or similar ethos to their existing Academy Trust and whether the financial and educational performance of their Academy will be improved.
UHY undertakes financial due diligence for Academy Trusts receiving new Academies and Academies joining existing Trusts.
If you would like any help or advice on Academies transferring to Academy Trusts and the effect on your grant funding, please contact your local UHY Academy School specialist.
Alternatively, fill out our Contact Form here.