Written Question on Academies

Written Questions are submitted by MPs or Lords to receive information from a Department.

See more on: "Academies"
Date Title Questioner
12 Jun 2019, 2:13 p.m. Academies Siobhain McDonagh


To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many academies do not have a sponsor because they have a budget deficit.

Answer (Nadhim Zahawi)

‚ÄčAs at 1 June 2019 there are 8,678 open academies and free schools. 2,631 of these do not have a sponsor. The majority of these are converter academies where there is no requirement for a sponsor. There is also a small number who were formerly sponsored but no longer have a sponsor.

There are 161 local authority maintained schools in the process of becoming a sponsored academy. Of these 161 schools, 83 (52%) have no sponsor assigned to them; some of these, will be early in the conversion process.

Schools can draw on their reserves for a range of planned and sensible reasons. This is not an issue in and of itself, unless it is symptomatic of a trend towards a cumulative deficit. Cumulative deficit and surplus positions are a more reliable overall measure of financial health. In-year spending often presents an inconsistent picture.

Of the 2,631 academies without a sponsor, 1,243 are recorded as having expenditure that exceeded income in 2017/18. This can often be planned expenditure using reserves strategically. There were 182 with a cumulative deficit. If the sums are significant, the trust may, as appropriate, be subject to scrutiny or intervention by ESFA. Of the 83 local authority maintained schools in the process of becoming a sponsored academy, 50 had expenditure that exceeded income, while 28 had a cumulative deficit.

When a local authority maintained school with a deficit becomes a sponsored academy, the deficit remains with the local authority, in line with our published guidance. Likewise, when an academy with a deficit is in scope to transfer to a new trust, any deficit at the academy at the point of transfer would ordinarily remain with the outgoing trust in line with our published guidance.

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