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Academies: Sponsorship

Question for Department for Education

UIN 9340, tabled on 7 September 2017

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what the process is for replacing a failing academy with a new sponsor.

Answered on

14 September 2017

Regional Schools Commissioners (RSCs) are responsible, on behalf of the Secretary of State, for holding all academies, including multi-academy trusts, to account and will intervene where necessary to bring about rapid improvement.

The main triggers for RSCs taking action are concerns about educational performance, financial management and/or governance. In the first instance, RSCs will support the trust that runs the academy to secure improvements itself – for example, through diagnostic visits from education advisors or arranging school-to-school support. Where they have serious concerns, RSCs are able to take more formal action such as issuing warning notices, setting out the improvements that are required and by when. The particular actions they may take are contained in the funding agreement between the academy trust and the Secretary of State.

Ultimately, the Education and Adoption Act 2016 provides the Secretary of State with powers, regardless of what terms are in the funding agreement, to terminate the funding agreement of an academy that is failing or coasting and transfer it to a new sponsor.

Our priority is to ensure all children receive the best possible education and RSCs will identify the most appropriate sponsor and work with the existing trust to manage the transition and ensure minimal disruption for pupils.

More detailed information about powers available for taking action in academies and how decisions are taken by RSCs are set out in the Schools Causing Concern Guidance and the RSCs Decision Making Framework, both of which are available on GOV.UK at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/schools-causing-concern--2

and

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/577885/RSC_decision_making_framework_December_2016.pdf.