EXCLUSIVE: Three more academy trusts received grants to shore up finances

Janet Downs's picture
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Over £.5m to Redhill Academy – but which trust?

£546,656 was given to Redhill Academy to support financial recovery in financial year 2016/17, Freedom of Information shows.  But it’s unclear which Redhill Academy received the money. 

Redhill Academy, formerly Redhill Academy Trust, a single academy trust in Derbyshire, had a deficit of £37,765 at the end of August 2017, up from £5,616 the previous year, accounts* show. 

The other Redhill Academy is Redhill Academy Trust, formerly The Redhill Academy.  It’s a multi-academy trust (MAT) with eleven academies.  Accounts* for year ending 31 August 2016 showed four of its academies had a total deficit of just over £500k.  By the end of the next academic year, one of these academies (Sherwood Academy transferred from E-Act) had closed and one had wiped its deficit.  The remaining two, Hall Park Academy and Oakwood Academy, had increased their deficits to £558,579 and £113,932 respectively.

It’s not possible to be definite about which trust received over half-a-million without confirmation.  I’ve asked the Department for Education to clarify.

£178k for Acle Academy for deficit reduction on transfer

Acle Academy was transferred to The Wensum Trust in October 2016.  According to Acle Academy’s final accounts* for one month ending 30 September 2016, The Wensum Trust received a ‘DfE grant of £178k to counter the deficit balance that it was taking on’.

 Accounts* for The Wensum Trust for year ending 31 August 2017 says ‘the DfE agreed to fund the Trust £174k to clear the Academy’s cash deficit position on its conversion’. The Wensum Trust also received a repayable advance of £198k to meet Acle’s ‘payroll commitments’.

According to published academy transfer costs**, however, The Wensum Trust received nothing when it took over Acle.  Deficit reduction is not included in published academy transfer costs - this omission, as I’ve said before, reduces the total cost of rebrokering academies.

Securing ‘financial support package’ for Bourne End Academy still a ‘significant issue’

Bourne End Academy (BEA), formerly The Wye Valley School (WVS), became a sponsored academy with Wycombe High School Academies Trust (WHSAT) in September 2014.   

WHSAT accounts* for year ending 31 August 2016 said there had been an ‘unplanned and unexpected drop in student numbers in September 2015 and 2016’ at BEA.  This was ‘contrary’ to Buckinghamshire County Council projections. 

The decline in pupil numbers, which WHSAT claimed was worsened by expansion of local schools in Buckinghamshire and in Windsor and Maidenhead, had ‘a significant impact on the financial stability of BEA’.  The accounts* said WHSAT was ‘in negotiations to minimise any adverse impact’ arising from financial uncertainty.

BEA received £150k to support financial recovery in 2016/17.   

WHSAT Accounts* for year ending 31 August 2017 said £171,891 from its General restricted funds represented ‘the cumulative surplus from BEA’ since becoming an academy.   This was ‘earmarked to cover the planned in-year deficit for BEA’.   ‘Continued engagement’ with the Education and Skills Funding Agency ‘to secure a suitable financial support package for BEA’ was a ‘significant’ issue for WHSAT, accounts* said.

UPDATE 10 August 2018 15.29:  The DfE have clarified that the MAT, Redhill Academies Trust,  received the grant of nearly half-a-million on behalf of Redhill Academy, the lead academy in the MAT.

This is the seventh and final article in a series about academies given grants by EFA to support financial recovery in financial year 2016/17.  The first six are:

Fourteen academies bailed out.     

SchoolsCompany Trust  

Lilac Sky Schools Academies Trust  

United Learning Trust 

 Chatham Grammar School for Girls 

Isle of Portland Aldridge Community Academy 

 

 

*Accounts available from Companies House

**Downloadable here  

 

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