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EDUCATIONAL SUPPLIES

ACADEMY CONVERSION:

A STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE

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CONVERTING TO ACADEMY STATUS The number of academies in England has risen from 203 in May 2010 to over 4,600 and this number continues to rise under the Conservative Government, over half of all secondary schools have now been converted. The Government has recently stated its aim of converting all schools to academies by 2020. This guide gives an overview of the processes involved when a Local Education Authority (LEA) school converts to academy status. This guide is not comprehensive and any school considering converting should contact the Department for Education (DfE) for guidance and support. All information is correct at the time of writing (April 2016) but could be subject to change. You can go to: www.gov.uk/guidance/convert-to-an-academy-information-for-schools for more information.

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CONTENTS WHAT IS AN ACADEMY? 

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WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF ACADEMY CONVERSION? 

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ACADEMY CONVERSION SUMMARISED 

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CONVERSION PROCESS FLOWCHART 

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REGISTRATION 

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APPLICATION TO CONVERT 

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APPROVAL AND FUNDING 

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FINALISING 

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PRE-OPENING 

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ACADEMIES FINANCIAL HANDBOOK 

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OPENING 

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KEY AREAS WHERE SUPPORT IS REQUIRED  11

Academy Conversion: A Step-By-Step Guide

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WHAT IS AN

ACADEMY? Academies are independent, state-funded schools that receive their funding directly from central Government and not via the Local Education Authority. Although the Head Teacher or Principal will still run the school day-to-day, they are still overseen by academy trusts which are individual charitable bodies or they can be part of an academy chain. Trusts are there to provide advice, support and expertise. Academies have more freedom than other state schools over their finances and curriculum, they also don’t need to follow national levels for teacher pay and conditions.

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WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF ACADEMY CONVERSION? • On top of the £25,000 grant from the DfE towards conversion costs, academies can potentially top up their budget by as much as 10% • Academies have more freedom to spend money previously held back by the local authority • Larger academy chains can run schools that create economies of scale. This means they can benefit from buying services and goods at lower prices • More freedom over staff pay can make it possible to attract and retain good teachers by paying more or alternatively, they can make savings • Control over curriculum and length of the school days and terms can allow more concentrated teaching

ACADEMY CONVERSION SUMMARISED • Schools submit their application to the DfE once they have a positive vote from their governing body • Once the application is approved, the Secretary of State issues an academy order and a trust is then set up, this trust then runs the academy for the Government • The school registers the academy trust with Companies House and agrees leasing arrangements for the school buildings and land. The final stage is the signing of a funding agreement with the Secretary of State • Schools must hold some form of consultation before the funding agreement is signed • The school does not need the permission of the LEA to convert

Academy Conversion: A Step-By-Step Guide

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Incorporate academy trust and set up bank account

School consults with other schools and interested parties

Continued consultation

Agree legal documentation (funding agreement, transfer agreement, lease etc).

OBTAIN ACADEMY ORDER

Complete TUPE

Claim ÂŁ25,000 grant

Once resolution to convert is passed, TUPE consultation should commence with staff and unions

LODGE APPLICATION TO CONVERT

Meeting of school governing body to pass a resolution to convert to academy status

REGISTER INTEREST ONLINE WITH DFE

THE PROCESS


Academy Conversion: A Step-By-Step Guide

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Obtain pension valuation

Sign funding agreement, lease, Commercial Transfer Agreement

Transfer surplus from Local Education Authority

Appoint responsible officers

ACADEMY OPENS

Register academy with relevant bodies

Negotiate new contracts or novate current ones

COMPLETION OF DOCUMENTATION


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APPLICATION TO CONVERT 1. Statutory public consultation with staff/parents/pupils/community 2. School governing body agree to become an academy 3. Notify LEA of intention to convert to an academy 4. Actuarial assessment to confirm cost of pensions for staff 5. Get landowner documents from either the LEA, diocese or trust 6. Review options for hiring a solicitor 7. Transfer of staff – LEA/governing body start informal Transfer or Undertakings, Protection of Employment Regulation process (TUPE) 8. Prepare and submit your application (with help from your assigned DfE contact), including: - Exam results from the last three years - Progress that pupils have made in the last three years - Recent Ofsted reports - School finances - List of who will be part of the school governance

APPROVAL AND FUNDING 1. 2-6 weeks to receive academy order (if successful) 2. Open bank account/appoint a solicitor 3. Issued with £25,000 support grant (within 14 days) 4. Education Funding Agency (EFA) provide indicative funding budget 5. Assigned DfE contact to support through process 6. Complete and return (with solicitor): - Draft funding agreement - Land questionnaire - Draft Memorandum and Articles of Association

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FINALISING 1. Memorandum and Articles of Association approved by DfE 2. Register with Companies House 3. Appoint academy trustees 4. Finalise bank account details and send to DfE 5. Transfer responsibilities to academy trust: - Land arrangements - Commercial Transfer Agreement (CTA) - Staff - through TUPE and pensions - Shared facilities/building works - Loans - Contracts with external providers

PRE-OPENING 1. EFA provide funding letter 2. Appoint board of governors following the Academies Financial Handbook which is summarised on the next page, including: - CEO/CFO/external auditors etc. - Implement new financial controls, process and systems 3. Register with the Information Commissioner’s OfďŹ ce (ICO) for storing/ processing personal data 4. Set-up any insurance that is required 5. Ensure all staff/governors/trust members are DBS checked 6. Notify Edubase for new Unique Reference Number (URN) 7. Notify all exam boards

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ACADEMIES FINANCIAL HANDBOOK Key academy responsibilities: 1. Appoint Principal/Chief Executive (by board of trustees) 2. Meet three times per year to detail outcomes/actions 3. Delegate responsibilities 4. Create finance committee to manage budget 5. Appoint clerk to board of trustees 6. Chief Executive must appoint accounting officer 7. Board of trustees to agree budget 8. Prepare annual return 9. Ensure academy has adequate insurances 10. Check/self-audit with clear financial controls 11. Transparency of governance/disclosure of all transactions 12. EFA approval of all borrowing (unless operating leases)

OPENING 1. Receive first payment from EFA 2. Publish final arrangements on website e.g. financial/governors/trustees 3. Submit your support grant certificate, detailing how much grant is carried over to budget 4. Complete land and buildings valuation within six months of converting 5. Seek advice and support from networks i.e. NASBM 6. Ensure school is ready to comply with the Academies Financial Handbook 7. School officially opens as an academy

KEY AREAS WHERE SUPPORT IS REQUIRED DfE - Assigned contact to support through the process Legal support - Solicitor advice and guidance to ensure conversion is completed correctly i.e. land/employees/contractual obligations Financial knowledge - Appoint experienced accounting staff Governors - To appoint key staff positions and provide consultation with all interested parties through process Peer support - Liaise with other schools who have gone through the process Key suppliers - With knowledge of academy requirements to support with contract transfers and provide best value

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EDUCATIONAL SUPPLIES

GLS can help you in your journey to academy status and support you when you achieve it. We are the largest supplier of educational resources in the UK, stocking a vast range of over 25,000 products from exercise books and stationery to furniture and facilities management. Everything you need, we’ve got it.

GLS are members of the following associations:

To find out how we can help you, fill out our short form at www.glsed.co.uk/academies and a member of our team will be in touch. FIS72

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