Recruiting to your Multi-Academy Trust – Some Things to Consider

The academy conversion program is beginning to pick up significant momentum in this part of the world. Currently, the Government’s favoured structure is the Multi-Academy Trust.

A number of strong schools that are now established as academies are beginning to look outwards to see how they can join forces with other schools, whether existing academies or state schools looking to convert, for the mutual benefit of all involved.

The following is a list of some of the matters that the recruiting Trust should consider before welcoming a new school into the Trust.  It’s a case of doing your homework, or more formally – undertaking a due diligence process.

Finances

One of the key benefits of joining forces with others is the ability to exploit economies of scale and make better use of limited finances. However, will your new school provide a boost to your finances or be a drain on resources:

  • How has the school budget been run for the past few years – is there a history of surpluses or deficits?
  • Are the buildings and equipment old and tired and likely to require a large outlay in the near future, or is everything shiny and new?
  • Are there any long tie-ins to leases for equipment or vehicles that will be onerous over the next few years?
  • Has the school already committed to new capital projects that may prove expensive to the Trust as a whole?
  • Are the teaching staff, on average, near the top or bottom of the pay scale?
  • Do you consider the number of TA’s or admin staff to be greater than necessary?

Personnel

  • What specialist skills do the staff possess that could be shared across the Trust, or even shared outside the Trust to bring in additional income?
  • Are there any ongoing disputes / disciplinary matters that are disrupting a smooth operation?
  • Are there skills gaps within the team, either in subject areas or at management level, that will need to be addressed?
  • Is the existing staff structure top heavy/inexperienced?

Performance

  • What is the school’s data telling you?
  • Where does the school sit amongst its peers and how does this fit with your own position?
  • Do you have the ability to support a low-performing school, can you both benefit given your relative positions?
  • What does the School Improvement Plan tell you about priorities and planned direction?

Legal matters

  • Are there any complexities with land titles that are likely to cause headaches?
  • Are there are ongoing legal disputes or claims that may affect finances or operations?
  • Is the TUPE process going to throw up any issues?

Commercial matters

  • As well as the financial considerations above, what opportunities are there to generate additional income for the Trust?
  • Does the school have facilities that can be used by the local community outside school hours?
  • What arrangements are currently in place with the Local Authority that may prove problematic?

If you’d like to arrange a free meeting to discuss any aspects of the academy conversion process or have any queries regarding academies finance, please get in touch with our team on 01903 234094.

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