‘You put some costs in
You take some costs out…’
The Department for Education appears to be dancing the hokey cokey with what’s included in published data about the cost of transferring academies (aka rebrokerage).
Some costs won’t appear in the published figures. That doesn’t mean they won’t have been paid – they just won’t appear in the data.
So what’s in and what’s out for 2016/17
Let’s start with what’s out. Deficit payments and diseconomies of scale have always been out. But the former can be very large as I pointed out yesterday.
Excluded funding now includes:
What will be in published transfer costs for 2016/17?
There are other ways to reduce the true cost of academy transfers. The DfE has a Regional Academy Growth Fund which awards cash to help academy trusts expand. A trust given RAGF funding could use this to take over an academy as well as encouraging non-academies to convert and join the MAT. Academy transfers funded by RAGF would be excluded from published rebrokerage data.
Similarly, Schools Week discovered the DfE is underwriting some academy trusts against possible future problems in the form of indemnities. In one case, Aspirations Academies Trust, Schools Week understands that as part of a possible takeover of Isle of Portland Aldridge Community Academy the DfE said ‘any debt’ from the transfer would ‘only have to be repaid if the school can afford this’ and ‘even then this would be capped at £150,000 per year’.
Encouraging MATs to take over academies with financial problems and a poor Ofsted is likely to involve carrots of some description. If the DfE doesn’t do so then it risks increasing the number of ‘toxic’ schools. Just as long as the sweetener remains outside academy transfer costs.