Academy Conversion FAQs

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Academisation Frequently Asked Questions

What is an academy?

An Academy is an independent state funded school. They have more freedoms than those schools under local authority control. When a school becomes an Academy the employees of the school transfer over to the new Trust or Sponsor. The Academy is run by a Charitable Trust however still managed on a day to day basis by the Headteacher who is then called a principle.

What are the potential benefits of academy status?

There are a number of considered advantages through a MAT structure including:

  • Enhanced procurement – with a higher number of academies procuring services or goods together this increases the purchasing power of the Trust
  • Sharing best practices – it is easier to share and implement best practice through member academies. For example, one academy may trial an innovate teaching approach and if successful, this can be effectively shared across the Multi-Academy Trust (MAT)
  • Central resource base – shared resource pools allow easier forward planning and unexpected short term demands can be met more easily
  • Flexibility on funding – recent funding agreement documentation allows pooling of the General Annual Grant (GAG). This can assist with allocating the funding to offset variations in revenue and expenditure in each academy
  • Teaching and staff can be shared – the trust itself is the employer of the staff and therefore resources can be shared far more easily. This is still subject to effective communication with the employee and academy members
  • Access to external sponsorship – this will provide financial support and also raise the profile of the MAT

What are the disadvantages of becoming an academy?

Dependant on the schemes of delegation some schools report a loss of autonomy and decision making especially in larger chains. Once you are part of a MAT many decisions are taken from your hands and you are no longer your own legal entity.

What is the academy conversion process?

See our step-by-step academy conversion process. The process can be complex, and the DfE advises that you seek advice to help you through the process.

What is a Regional Schools Commissioner (RSC)?

The responsibilities of the Regional Schools Commissioner (RSC) include; monitoring performance of Academies and intervening where underperformance is found; making strategic decisions on the creation of MATs and granting academy orders; ensuring there are enough academy sponsors meets local demand.

What is TUPE?

TUPE refers to the "Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006" as amended by the "Collective Redundancies and Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) (Amendment) Regulations 2014". Staff working at the ‘old school’ are transferred to the new employer ‘the Trust’ with contractual protections. This is a complex process and it is advised you seek HR advice from a specialist.

What is forced academisation?

A local authority or the secretary of state may intervene when a school is deemed as ‘eligible for intervention’. A school may meet this criteria if;

There is a warning notice in place issued by the local authority in respect of performance of the school or if a warning notice has not been complied with;

The school has been judged as a Grade 3 or Grade 4 school (Requiring Improvement or Inadequate) by Ofsted.

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For information and support around Academy conversion, fill in the form below or call Rachel Foster on 0844 967 1111.