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Primary schools converting to academies

From June 2012, the Department For Education (DFE) is offering a new grant to assist primary schools that decide to convert to academy status as an academy chain, this would be either as a Multi-academy Trust (MAT) or an Umbrella Trust (UT).

The DFE has stated that strong chains of three or more academies can:

• Help drive up standards and provide opportunities for increased collaborative working among schools.

• Schools can review and reinvigorate their governance arrangements, to make sure they are driving improvements in standards and maximising the benefits of working together.

It also gives schools:

• The opportunity to adopt newly developed leadership models, such as the creation of an executive head role, enabling more strategic planning to drive up skills and standards across all schools in the chain;

• A broader base from which to develop leaders;

• The ability to pool budgets and jointly procure services to benefit the wider chain; such as hiring specialist teachers to work with all schools in the chain;

• Ability to share resources, enabling delivery of a wider and more varied curriculum; and

• Greater scope for sharing school improvement and CPD expertise and best practice to bring about improvements in practice and standards across the board.

The DFE have said that the grant will provide the required resource with which primary schools can begin to build and formalise their partnership, enabling them to go on and achieve more quickly their shared vision of improved results, better outcomes and significantly improved standards.

For example, this grant can be used to increase the chain’s expertise or its capacity to manage the conversion into a MAT or UT by employing a part time business manager to see them through the conversion and beyond, or instructing lawyers to carry out any additional work required to form their preferred type of MAT/UT.

In order to claim the grant the schools must meet the following conditions:

• the group of schools applying to convert must all be primary schools (or Special schools with primary age pupils);

• there must be three or more schools intending to join the chain;

• the chain must intend to use either a Multi-Academy Trust or an Umbrella Trust governance model; and

• at least one school in the chain must also meet the performing well criteria for converting schools.

The grant will be offered until 31 December 2012.



Date: 20th July, 2012
Author: Wendy Bambrick


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