Changes to DfE funding agreements for academies
The DfE has recently published new model funding agreements for both single and multi academy mainstream academies and free schools.
The DfE requires all mainstream academies and free schools opening on or after 1 September 2014 to use the updated agreements.
The funding agreements have been restructured into a more logical order, using more simple language and contain a number of additional provisions. These include specific requirements for students to be taught about evolution and the promotion of British values.
Perhaps the biggest changes to the funding agreements relate to governance.
The purpose of the new governance clauses are to ensure that unsuitable individuals or organisations do not become involved in the academy sector.
The revised funding agreements require academy trusts to:
- notify the Secretary of State of Education of any changes made to its membership and board of trustees.
- An academy trust must provide the Secretary of State with the names of any new or replacement members and trustees, the date of their appointment and details of the individual they have replaced within 14 days.
The Secretary of State reserves the right to terminate the funding agreement or request the removal of a member/trustee where an individual refuses to provide the necessary information or if the Secretary of State considers them to be 'unsuitable.' The purpose of the new governance clauses are to ensure that inappropriate individuals or organisations do not become involved in the academy sector.
Funding agreements for non-mainstream projects
The DfE has yet to publish revised template funding agreements for non mainstream projects such as:
- special, alternative provisions,
- 16-19 academies and free schools,
- studio schools and
Such organisations are to use the models published between December 2012 and June 2013 but add additional provisions to the documentation that ensure that all new projects are under similar requirements as contained within the revised model funding agreements.
Changes will also need to be made to existing funding agreements in place and which were published prior to the revised June 2014 version. The changes that need to be made will depend upon the particular version used by the academy but will either involve replacement of the documents in their entirety with the new model version or the incorporation of additional provisions to ensure they are consistent with those contained in the revised document.
Links and resources
The new funding agreements for mainstream and free schools opening on or after 1 September 2014 can be found on the gov.uk website by using the following links:
Single model funding agreement and supplemental funding agreement
Master Funding Agreement
For further details of the changes and additional provisions that have been added to the revised funding agreements along with the amendments required to be made to existing funding agreements that pre date the June 2014 version, please contact us.
If you require any advice or assistance in determining the amendments that need to be made to your existing funding agreements and/or governance training to ensure compliance with the new governance requirements please contact Chris Billington on 0113 244 6100.
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The information in this article is necessarily of a general nature. Specific advice should be sought for specific situations. If you have any queries or need any legal advice please feel free to contact Wrigleys Solicitors.