Councils pay £22m converting schools to academies, investigation finds

Funds-strapped councils have been landed with a bill for £22m to pay out for converting maintained schools into academies, according to analysis published on Friday.

The Regional Government Association study showed that among 2011 and 2014 councils spent at least £22.4m covering the costs of legal and structural adjustments to schools in their regions that were turning out to be academies.

David Simmonds, chair of the LGA’s young children and younger folks board, mentioned: “We are supportive of academies and free colleges but it is merely not honest that some struggling colleges are burdened with a deficit while other individuals stroll away to become academies and leave local taxpayers to foot the bill.”

Academies are outdoors local authority handle and are governed directly by the Department for Schooling. Just above half (56%) of secondaries are now academies and 13% of primaries. Underneath recent arrangements, when council-maintained schools convert to turn out to be academies, local authorities choose up the bill for conversion costs, which can incorporate the price of any deficit and legal fees.

The LGA argues that the academies programme, including conversion expenses, must be totally funded by the government, rather than subsidised by neighborhood taxpayers. Simmonds stated it wasn’t proper that consultants and attorneys were profiting from the conversions, when neighborhood taxpayers expected their income to go to other nearby priorities, no matter whether it was improving schools or fixing potholes.

The findings adhere to an on the internet survey last month of finance directors in the 150 authorities that belong to the LGA. The survey was finished by 77 councils – a 51% response fee. The LGA stated the survey offered “a snapshot of the economic costs of the academy conversion progress” and was “a great indication of the position of the sector more widely”.

“We have extended been concerned the Division for Education does not have enough funds to help the fast expansion in colleges converting to academy status,” explained Simmonds. “Councils, with their position at the heart of their community, want to be able to hold all schools in their locations to account for the top quality of the education they give.

“It is not appropriate that we are possessing to spend this funds for legal and structural adjustments to colleges, rather than it becoming spent in approaches which directly advantage the achievements of pupils.”

In accordance to the LGA survey, the councils who responded spent practically £16m covering the deficit of schools converting into academies and much more than £6m in “transactional costs”, which include the price of legal advisers.

Leave a Reply