Academies: information for new openers
Important information that new academies will need in the first period of opening.
Welcome letter and pack to new academies
The Education Funding Agency (EFA) sends all new academies a welcome letter specific to each academy on the date of opening.
In addition, new academies receive a New academies welcome pack - February 2017 (PDF, 388KB, 24 pages) which aims to guide you through your first few months on matters relating to funding, funding-agreement compliance, finance and financial assurance.
The welcome pack includes:
- details of key actions for academies to fulfil within their first few months of opening
- links to more information about some of the detailed guidelines that you will need
- information about other finance-related activities for which we are not responsible – and signposts to where you can find further information
- an introduction to our areas of work to give you a broad overview of where you can expect to interact with the EFA
- an introduction to our key services and systems and what you need to know and do to use these services successfully
Academies funding allocation delivery schedule
The schedule below provides information for schools preparing to open as new academies. It shows EFA timescales for issuing the funding allocation pack (FAP) to new academies in their first year of opening. Draft FAPs are sent out as soon as possible after an academy order is granted.
A training video looking at funding for new academies is available.
Academies opening in the 2015 to 2016 and 2016 to 2017 academic years
|Date of academy opening||Reminder FAP issued||Final FAP issued by|
|1 February 2017||Mid January 2017||Mid February 2017|
|1 March 2017||Mid February 2017||Mid March 2017|
Estimating your allocation
Before you receive your draft FAP, you can make an estimate of your allocation. We have produced a guide that explains how to estimate a new academy’s revenue funding, known as the general annual grant (GAG). The guide links to online data and has examples for each of the main elements of the GAG.
We have produced a number of training videos containing funding information for open academies.
For academies opening as free schools, studio schools or UTCs, your school budget share will be based on the LA funding formula. We have produced templates for individual schools to calculate indicative allocations based on their own information.
These are available, with further information about funding, for each of these academy types:
- free schools, including special and AP free schools
- studio schools
Academies contact information
EFA sends important and confidential information to academies throughout the year, so it’s really important we have the right contact details for you.
Financial monitoring and assurance requirements
Academy trusts are independent charitable companies, and EFA aims to keep a reasonable balance between this independence and the need for you and EFA to account for public money.
EFA has worked with academies to achieve a position where the accountability requirements are satisfied while the administrative burden is minimised. The main components of the accountability framework and assurance arrangements are set out below.
Academies Financial Handbook
Your funding agreement, together with the Academies Financial Handbook, sets out all of the financial accountability requirements that apply to academies.
Financial management and governance self-assessment (FMGS)
Academy trusts must submit their financial management and governance self-assessment (FMGS) to EFA using the online form or provide alternative assurance within 4 months of opening.
The FMGS is a short self-assessment that highlights the main requirements new academy trusts must have in place soon after opening.
It provides a simple way for you and EFA to gain assurance that your financial management and governance arrangements meet these requirements.
Academy trusts must monitor and manage their own budgets to ensure effective financial oversight of public funds. EFA reviews academy trusts’ budget projections and actual results to assess financial health.
New academy trusts and new academies joining an existing multi-academy trust are required to submit their 2015 to 2016 budget forecast return 6 weeks after receiving their final funding letter.
Accounts Direction and Accounts Return
Every academy trust must submit audited financial statements to EFA by 31 December each year, using the Academies Accounts Direction as a reference pack.
Additionally academy trust accounting officers are required to submit an annual accounts return, which supports the preparation of consolidated accounts and benchmarking data that is comparable with maintained schools.
New academy trusts incorporated on or after 1 March 2016 should note that:
- you may defer preparation of your first financial statements until 31 August 2017
- if deferring your first financial statements, you should not complete an annual accounts return for 2015 to 2016. EFA will issue an alternative version for you in March 2017.
Transferring the balance of your predecessor school’s funds
For academies without a sponsor your local authority (LA) must finalise your closing balance within 4 months of your conversion date. You are asked to work with your LA to facilitate this.
If the agreed closing balance is a surplus, your LA must pay within 1 month of finalising the amount. If the agreed closing balance is a deficit, EFA will settle that amount with your LA and set up a repayment plan with you. For small amounts, you can repay the deficit directly to your LA, as long as you inform us in advance.
If you’re unable to agree the amount owed, you can ask us to review it, but must do so within 1 month of your LA making their decision on the final closing balance.
For sponsored academies, any deficit remains with the LA and doesn’t have to be repaid by your academy trust.
The way surpluses are dealt with depends on how you were granted an academy order. In most cases, an academy order was issued because the school’s governing body applied for one and the surplus transfers to the academy trust.
If an academy order is issued without an application from the governing body, any surplus remains with the LA. In practice, some LAs have chosen to transfer the surplus.
For converter projects, if your LA determines there is a deficit balance at the date of conversion, EFA will write to you to agree that amount and, subject to agreement, will reimburse that sum to your LA and recover it from your GAG. EFA will work with you to agree a timetable for doing so. Any surpluses should be paid across by your LA with no involvement from the department.
Academies are not allowed to run a deficit without remedial action. Any that open with a transferred deficit will need to agree at the earliest opportunity with EFA, a plan to repay it from General Annual Grant (GAG) installments. Academies that develop a deficit after opening will have to agree a restructuring plan with EFA.
Revenue funding: start-up grant
Schools get a start-up grant of £25,000 to help with the costs of converting, such as legal fees, stationery and signage. The grant is paid into your school’s new bank account when the Secretary of State has made an academy order agreeing to the conversion.
Your school can keep any unspent balance from this flat rate grant and add it to overall income.
Start-up funding information is also available for sponsored academies.
If you have any queries the website does not answer, please email the academies enquiry service at:
Contact form https://form.education...
For schools, local authorities, other education institutions and providers, accountants, auditors and other professional advisers with queries for the Education Funding Agency
Published: 11 March 2014
Updated: 5 December 2016
- Updated to include the December welcome pack
- Updated to include the November welcome pack
- Updated to include the October edition of the welcome pack
- Updated for September openers.
- Updated to include the July edition of the welcome pack.
- Updated for June openers
- Update and added welcome pack for May 2016 openers.
- Update and added welcome pack for April openers.
- Updated the welcome pack for new academies.
- Updated with the February welcome pack.
- Timetable of Funding Allocation documents for In year openers now available for openers up to March 2017
- Updated with the January 2016 welcome pack for new academies
- Updated with welcome pack for academies opening in December 2015.
- Updated with academies welcome pack for November 2015.
- Updated with the welcome pack for October openers.
- Updated with the September 2015 new academies welcome pack.
- Update to funding allocations delivery schedule.
- Updated welcome pack for new academies published
- New academies welcome pack updated and re-published for March 2015 openers
- Welcome pack updated for new openers from 2 February 2015
- The funding allocation delivery schedule has been updated and the there is now a link to a guide about estimating a new academy’s revenue funding.
- Welcome pack updated for new openers from 2 January 2015
- Welcome pack updated for new openers from 1 December 2014
- Welcome pack for new academies updated.
- Welcome pack for new academies added.
- Updated to include funding allocation delivery schedule for academies opening in the 2014 to 2015 academic year and details about estimating allocations.
- First published.