Converting a school from maintained to non – maintained status is not straightforward. One of the most important issues to address is the transfer of the school premises from the existing owner(s) who may comprise a local authority, a governing body, a foundation school, a voluntary aided school and in the case of a foundation school whether or not school itself is supported by an existing trust arrangement.
It is therefore important to ascertain at an early stage, the identity of the owner(s) of all of the land used for the functions of the school. The land transfer arrangements can be complex and in some circumstances, they must be undertaken in more than one stage. For example in the case of a foundation school, it will often be necessary to surrender the governing body’s existing leasehold interest to the local authority before the property can be leased by the local authority to the Academy Trust. Voluntary aided schools (which are usually church schools) are often situated on a combination of publicly and privately owned land (for example the school could be situated on private land but the playing fields could be owned by the local authority.) That scenario could involve negotiations with numerous parties.
Identifying the ownership of the school land at an early stage can provide an important headstart which can be invaluable in terms of managing the conversion timetable.
Kennedys offers a free ‘ title check’ service to ascertain whether or not school premises are registered at the land registry and, if they are the identity of the registered owner. Our expert education team understand the complexities of academy conversion and can advise on all matters.
If you would like to benefit from our ‘free title check’ please get in touch with our expert Real Estate team on firstname.lastname@example.org