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"Patience and professionalism"

Support for academisation

Academy Conversion

“They guided us through the process step-by-step, answered our sometimes naïve questions with patience and professionalism and were constantly available to deal with the unexpected.”

Since the Academies Act 2010, the education team has become expert in advising the governors of primary and secondary schools on the academy conversion process and associated issues. The Schools and Academies team advised Seaton Academy, one of the very first new-style academies in 2010 and since then has advised fifty schools on conversion to academy status. 

Recently, the team has been advising schools on the formation of Multi Academy Trusts (MATs) and has been heavily involved with existing MATs as they have acquired additional schools. 

Whether you’re joining a MAT, setting up a MAT or going it alone as a single academy, Burnetts’ team has the experience and expertise to guide governors through the process and to help your school achieve its new status. 

“As a Multi-Academy Trust, Burnetts were invaluable in every aspect of the necessary due diligence process”

Conversion requires the formation of the "Academy trust", a company limited by guarantee and an exempt charity, which enters into the funding agreement directly with the Department for Education. Our early discussions (formal or informal) with schools considering conversion usually focus on the implications of conversion and on ensuring that the requirements of the process are clear.

Once a school has decided to convert, we advise on the implications of the conversion process, consultation and the formation of the corporate body, including what it means to be a company limited by guarantee both legally and practically.

Transferring the school's assets (including the school's most valuable assets, its staff) into the Academy trust is the next task. Employment law issues (e.g. TUPE) are often the ones which most worry schools, but these are often the most easily resolved. We also advise on and assist with land and property matters such as leases or transfers.

Following conversion, we have continued to advise our new academies on the full range of issues which affect the sector including regulatory issues such as data protection, freedom of information and charity law compliance, funding questions (especially where pupil numbers change) admission appeals, HR and employment law & corporate issues. 

If your school is considering becoming an Academy, we are happy to come and talk through the main issues with your governing body. 

Who to contact

Natalie Ruane profile photo

Natalie Ruane

Natalie is a Partner and leads the Employment Law & HR team and specialises in education.