Academy conversions (for schools) – In a nutshell

Published on 8th September 2016

Academy conversions (for schools) – In a nutshell, expert advice from Amy Laver – Tozers

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In March 2016 the government announced that all maintained schools were to become academies by 2020.
Whilst a ‘U’ turn seemed to shortly follow, the commitment to academy conversion has not waned.

Schools will be considering their options, particularly concerning potential partners.

As an academy, in many ways, life may not be very different. You will already have managed the budget, buildings and employees of the school whilst under local authority control.

However, oversight of the school will move to a charitable company, known as an academy trust.
There is no one model structure for this aside from all academy trusts having members and a board of directors. The members will have ultimate responsibility for directing the affairs of your school. Directors manage the trust and are unpaid aside from the chief executive. Schools receive a grant of twenty five thousand pounds towards the costs of conversion.

You should not underestimate the amount of your time required by conversion and the potential need to cover parts of your role during the process, as well as increasing admin cover.

Going forward, funding is received directly by the trust from the education funding agency and the amount previously retained by the local authority becomes available to the trust.
There are certain steps that must be followed.

  • Consultation with parents, pupils and other stakeholders regarding the proposal to join or form an academy trust is required.
  • A charitable company must be set up with a model set of articles of association which govern the running of the trust. Various documents including a funding agreement with the secretary of state and an agreement for the transfer of assets, employees and contracts of the school must be entered into.
  • Arrangements concerning the use of the land and buildings must be made.
  • The timeline for conversion is dependent on various factors, including the approval of the department for education.

Amy Laver


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