Academies receive the same funding as maintained schools for every pupil on roll. They also get extra funding to cover the cost of services that used to be provided by the local authority, although this is likely to be withdrawn over the next few years.

Academies are funded from September to August in line with the academic year, unlike maintained schools, which are funded from April to March in line with the financial year.

General annual grant (GAG)

Most funding for the running of academies comes from the general annual grant (GAG). This is paid to academies by the Education Funding Agency (EFA), based on a formula provided by the local authority.

GAG is made up of:

  • school budget share – calculated on a comparable basis to the running costs of maintained schools in the same local authority
  • education services grant – allocated to academies based on the number of pupils they are responsible for, to buy services no longer automatically provided by the local authority

School budget share

The school budget share is protected by a minimum funding guarantee, so that the funding for each pupil will not fall by more than 1.5%.

Education services grant (ESG)

Academies will receive ESG (currently £87 in the academic year 2015 to 2016).

Services funded by ESG

As an academy, you will become responsible for services including the following:

  • education welfare service
  • pupil support (eg school uniform grants)
  • music services (eg instrumental tutors)
  • outdoor education including environmental and field studies (not sports)
  • therapies and health-related services, that aren’t funded by the health service
  • visual and performing arts
  • monitoring national curriculum assessment
  • school improvement such as continuous professional development for staff
  • determination of terms and conditions of service of staff
  • early retirement and redundancy costs
  • asset management
  • producing financial accounts
  • internal auditing

Services that remain with the local authority

The following duties remain with the local authority and do not become your responsibility:

  • home to school transport, including transport for pupils with special educational needs (SEN)
  • education psychology, SEN statements and assessment
  • assigning SEN resources for pupils who require high levels of additional resource (this is a top-up to formula funding under a separate contract with the local authority)
  • monitoring of SEN provision and parent partnerships
  • prosecuting parents for non-attendance
  • provision of pupil referral units for a pupil no longer registered at an academy

The Cirrus Primary Academy Trust firmly believes that the individual leaders within schools should run their budgets in a way that supports their educational values. As much money as possible will be allocated to schools within the Trust and this money will be spent by them on raising educational standards with the support of the Trust. It will be monitored closely by the school’s Local Governing Board and their representatives on the Trust’s Finance Committee, and reported to the Trust Board.

The decision to join the Trust should not be driven by finances alone. Schools join the Trust to develop the organisation to ensure that children do exceptionally well. There is a cost attached to that and schools looking to save money at the expense of raising standards would not fit in with the ethos of our Trust.

Over time, and as Government funding changes, the Trust will change its funding relationship with schools in a fair and agreed way. The model below is flexible and will be reviewed on an annual basis.

Each school will be different and will need a greater or lesser degree of support. To reflect this, there will be an appropriate cost for each individual school based on the level of support required.

Most academy chains require a financial contribution of between 5% and 10%, as well as the total ESG.

For a Good or Oustanding school, the financial contribution to the Trust on an annual basis will be 3% of its allocated budget share plus 50% of the ESG.

For a Requires Improvement school, the financial contribution to the Trust on an annual basis will be 4% of its allocated budget share plus 60% of the ESG.

For a school in an Ofsted Category, the financial contribution to the Trust on an annual basis will be 5.5% of its allocated budget share plus 60% of the ESG.

The Trust Board will consider the appropriate use of any surplus funds held centrally at the end of each financial year, which could be used to reduce each school’s contribution the following year. Good and Outstanding schools with unallocated budgets will retain that money for identified projects.

The Trust will be based around a school improvement team, with administration support. When six schools are in the Trust, it is anticipated that the team will have outgrown using school premises and will require basic rented accommodation. As a new Trust, costs will be lower, as will the overall financial contribution received from the schools.

Schools that need to convert to an academy to join the Trust will be supported fully during that journey, and the Trust will handle the conversion process. Any grants associated with that process will belong to the Trust. It is proposed that a realistic ‘buffer’ will be built up by the Trust for unforeseen expenditure within the estate.