Academies – the latest issues

We’ve been acting for some Academy schools recently and found an interesting article in the Birmingham Post concerning the high costs of converting to Academy status.

Each time a school converts to Academy status, the council (or Birmingham City Council in this case) pays for the conversion costs. It also in many cases absorbs any outstanding debts the school has accrued, which in some cases have been well into six figures. The councils are already cash-strapped and if conversions continue at the curent rate, councils will run out of money to spend on education services such as suport for school governors and appeals services.

Some recent changes and updates:

  • Financial assurance arrangements for new Academies are sensitive to the date that the aAcademy opens. Each new Academy is required to submit a budget forecast return six weeks after receiving their final funding letter. A Financial Management and Governance Self-Assessment (FMGS) is due to the Education Funding Agency within four months of the new Academy opening.
  • Academies which submitted completed FRS17 pension valuation statements by the required deadline should have received their grant suport payment in January 2013.
  • All pre and post 16 2013/14 funding allocation enquiries should be submitted to [email protected].
  • The final quarterly payment of the 2012/13 Pupil Premiums Allocation wil be paid on 2 April 2013.

How accountants can help Academies

Having an experienced accountant on board is essential to a school going through the conversion stages, and beyond! The Department for Education’s filing deadlines fall soon after the year end meaning reports need to be pulled together quickly and efficiently.

For many schools, having to deal in management reports, cash flow, regulatory returns and accounts preparation (to name but a few of the financial obligations) are unchartered waters and so seeking professional help early on is key.

If you have any queries on the financial requirements for Academy schools, please contact Curo’s head of audit, Anna Madden on [email protected] or call Anna on 01527 558539. Click here to see our Academy schools offering.