How Do We Apply for Academy Status?
A school may apply to become an academy by filling out an ‘application to convert’ on the
Department for Education (DfE) website. Initially, your school will need to confirm that your governing body has agreed on the conversion to an academy. Foundation, voluntary and trust schools will also need consent from the foundation, diocese or trust
in each circumstance.
When Can We Apply for a Conversion Grant?
Once the DfE have approved your application you may apply for the £25,000 conversion grant. The
Secretary of State must also issue the school with its academy order first. The school should then complete the support
grant claim form on the DfE website.
What is the Conversion Process?
The conversion process, from school to academy, includes these five steps at the very least:
- Launch a charitable company known as the academy trust with memorandum
and articles of association.
- Put into fruition a funding agreement between the Secretary of State and
the academy trust for the running of your academy(s).
- Transfer the employment of your staff members from the local authority/governing
body to the academy trust in accordance with TUPE.
- Negotiate a commercial transfer agreement for the transfer of your contracts
and assets from the local authority/governing body to the academy trust.
- Arrange for the academy trust to have use of the buildings and land around your school. This usually happens by way of a 125-year lease with the local authority of via the transfer of the freehold of the
If your school is joining an existing academy trust there is no requirement to set up a separate company. However, if your academy trust currently runs just one school then their documentation must be updated
to reflect the responsibility of multiple schools. Voluntary schools will have to enter into a church supplemental agreement with their diocese and the Secretary of State; this will make clear the respective rights and responsibilities of each party and set
out the use of any church lands by the academy trust.
Converting PFI schools to academy status raises some particular issues and therefore additional documentation will need to be negotiated between the governing body, local authority, academy trust and the
What is the Memorandum and Articles of Association?
The memorandum details the names of the initial members of the academy trust. The articles of association are the rules and guidelines that will govern the operation of the company.
Who are the Members?
Members of an academy trust are much like the shareholders of a limited company; but there must be at least three of them, one of whom must always be the chair of directors. They act as guarantors of the
academy trust and guarantee to contribute £10 towards any debts should the trust be wound up. This only applies if there aren’t enough assets to satisfy creditors. Members usually take a hands-off role and have limited powers which include:
- The right to wind up the academy trust;
- The right to amend the articles of association;
- The right to appoint other members;
- The right to appoint and remove one or more directors.
How Long Until We Find Out How Much Funding We Will Receive?
You will not find this information in your funding agreement, instead these details will be provided in an annual letter of funding. Before the first payment, the academy trust will receive a letter of
funding detailing how much it will receive to cover the period from the conversion date to the end of August. Expect to receive this letter 4-6 weeks before conversion; enabling the governing body to review the figures at the final meeting before conversion.