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Academy sponsorships and MATs

Our team has extensive national experience supporting academy group projects. Indeed, over half of the conversion projects we have worked on have involved the creation of, or adding academies to, academy groups. Projects have included multi-academy trusts (MATs), umbrella trusts (UTs) and collaborative partnerships covering single phase groups, multi-phase groups, mixed MATs (church and non-church academies), Roman Catholic groups and Church of England groups.

We have created numerous innovative group structures using the MAT and UT formats together to overcome local difficulties. The academy projects we have advised on have emanated from 111 different maintaining local authorities, giving us exceptional experience of dealing with different local authority and Diocesan approaches.

You may currently be a multi-academy trust or sponsor who is an experienced education organisation with a strong track record in academy conversions. You might, equally, currently be a maintained school or single academy looking to set up a multi-academy trust or start your expansion programme.

Whatever your size, we know you need your legal partner to be commercial and efficient in providing academy sponsorship and conversion support, to strict timeframes and without unnecessary complications.

What we do

  • Strategic support and project planning – we create a tailored plan for your project, highlighting key dates, activities, FAQs and deadlines for every stage of the conversion process.
  • Governance and commercial support – including agreeing the Articles and the provision of a simple form to help incorporate your academy trust, negotiation and agreement of the Funding Agreement with the DfE and negotiation and agreement of the Commercial Transfer Agreement with the local authority.
  • School land, estate and buildings – we provide a detailed ‘report on title’ relating to your school estate as well as dealing with registration matters at the Land Registry.
  • TUPE/employee transfer - support and practical guidance in relation to pension schemes.

Featured experience

Multi-academy trust selected by the DfE to support a number of failing academies

Supporting an existing multi-academy trust selected by the DfE to step in and support a number of failing academies. Our advice and support was required at short notice which often meant attending Board meetings to provide timely advice in order to effectively support the MAT to deliver the project in difficult circumstances and a tight time-frame.

Over 20 academy projects for a big multi-academy trust

Trusted legal advisors for a big multi-academy trust on over 20 of its academy projects, including fast track and fully sponsored, PFI conversions, a special free school, a mainstream free school and the establishment of a brand new academy led by a local authority.

Secondary academy wanting to become an approved sponsor

Supporting a secondary academy wanting to become an approved sponsor and adopt multi-academy status. Working with the academy we helped them understand the DfE’s requirements in order to write a successful business case. We worked with the leadership team and governing body to explore their future aspirations to design a suitable governance structure and help them implement a MAT that was suitable for their future strategic vision.

Four secondary schools adopting academy status within an MAT

Supporting four secondary schools wishing to adopt academy status within a multi-academy trust. We worked with the leadership teams and governors to help them understand the process, DfE requirements and design a MAT that met their local circumstances.

Our expertise


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