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EFA significant change guidance

Legal firm VWV explains what you need to know if you're considering starting, joining or expanding a MAT

Posted by Stephanie Broad | May 19, 2016 | Law, finance, HR

The EFA revised their guidance of 'significant changes' (the Guidance) last month.

As a result, it has been made clear that 'governance changes' are no longer considered significant for the purposes of the Guidance.

'Governance changes' are described in the Guidance as:

  •  A single academy (SAT) joining a multi academy trust (MAT)
  •  A SAT becoming a MAT (with or without sponsorship)
  •  A SAT or a MAT adding a free school

The old rules (as set out in previous versions of the Guidance) meant that for any of the above changes, an academy would need to carry out a consultation on the proposed change, and submit a business case, on the conclusion of the consultation to the Education Funding Agency (EFA) for approval.

By removing the above 'governance changes' from the scope of the Guidance, there are no longer consultation and business case requirements for these changes. Instead, the SAT or MAT will need to submit one of three application forms to - links to these forms can be found in the Guidance.

However, please note that when applying to become a sponsor, the EFA still recommends that academies 'inform parents and the local community' and 'consider their views before applying'.

With the current political focus firmly placed on the 'academy revolution', the revised Guidance will certainly make it easier for SATs and MATs to start, join, or expand their MATs. The removal of the consultation requirement and the business case (which had no specific form) should enable SATs and MATs to act quickly upon making decisions about their future.

That said, whilst there is no longer a consultation requirement, in line with the reference to informing parents and the community, and considering views in the sponsorship guidance, we recommend that engagement with parents, pupils, staff and the local community on any MAT plans remains a priority.

To discuss your plans for MAT development or to find out how VWV can support your plans, contact Jaime Parkes on 0121 227 3703.

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