Currently Schools still receive a grant of £25,000 to enable them to convert to an Academy, however, does this really cover the real costs?
There are the obvious costs that need to be incurred:-
Legal Fees Between £5,500 and £12,000
Local Authority Costs Between £ nil and £7,500
Pension Actuarial Valuation Between £1,500 and £2,000
Financial System Upgrade Between £1,000 and £6,000
Financial Due Diligence Between £1,250 and £2,250 (if joining a MAT)
Premises Due Diligence Approx. £2,000 for a comprehensive report
There are other minor costs such as rebranding, however, the most significant cost is the time that needs to be devoted to ensure that the conversion goes smoothly at the school level i.e. Governors, Head Teacher, Business Manager etc.
If the conversion is not managed properly, then this will result in problems at a school level afterwards which could prove costly. In order to alleviate this from being an issue, some Trusts now buy in project management support to manage the conversion and the associated costs. If you decide to do this, make sure the person knows what to prepare the school for following conversion as this can sometime come as a shock to the unprepared and consume more time.
Unfortunately it is the Business Manager that suffers the most as they are trying to setup and run the academy’s accounts system as well as closing down the previous finance system.
In addition, another challenge is ensuring the Multi Academy Trust or Academy is meeting the requirements of the Academies Financial Handbook. The majority of this can be implemented during the conversion process, provided that it is built into the project plan.