Thinking of becoming an academy? Here are some things to consider
No matter where you are on the route to gaining academy status, there are many HR, financial, legal and operational issues to consider.
Before you decide to convert
If you’re considering converting from a maintained school to an academy, here’s what you can do:
- Talk through the financial implications with an accountant who has a background in the education sector, so that they can advise you on the issues you may face
- Set up in-house training and conversations to give governors and other interested parties the chance to explore the financial implications with you. There are courses available that are designed for just this purpose
- Find out what you need to know about Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) regulations that protect employees’ rights when the company they work for changes hands. Your journey to becoming an academy will need to comply with this important HR legislation and you’ll need to keep staff members informed about, engaged with and involved in the journey.
Once you’ve decided to go ahead
Here are some of the practicalities of converting:
- Your academy will need to choose and implement the finance system that’s right for it. There are many options, each with its own advantages and disadvantages — and you should seek help to find your way through the maze, so you make the right decision
- You’ll need to set your first budget and complete the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) return correctly. Moving from managing a school budget to an academy budget can be challenging
- Your new company directors will need training to understand their formal responsibilities — both as employers and as financial managers
- Your new or growing multi-academy trust will need to establish policies, procedures and contracts of employment, and create a strategic HR plan that aligns with your values and vision.
Once you’re running as an academy
You may need ongoing support to manage some critical functions. This could include:
- Financial support services, including assistance with ESFA returns, completion of audit packs at year-end and independent support for bank reconciliations
- An HR knowledge hub that provides HR advice and information, factsheets and template policies, health and wellbeing support and details of training to ensure that you stay compliant and can take advantage of the freedom your new status confers
- Subject matter expertise, including mediation, investigations, health and wellbeing advice, recruitment and union consultations
- Development programmes for staff members and governors
- HR administration, payroll and pension administration.
To find out how Entrust can help you to become an academy, contact us