Academy Due Diligence
Schools looking to convert to academy status know full well that there is much to consider and find out before the funding agreement is signed. Many MATs who have taken on additional schools are finding out to their cost that the due diligence required during this process needs to be significantly more detailed. It also needs to be conducted with a cold eye.
Premier New Schools provide an incisive and cost-effective due diligence service to MATs to help them either to decide to take on a new school, or to provide them with the information they need prior to the decision to include a new school in the MAT. Our experience in this field is extensive, and will include input from current multi-academy Trustees, experienced DfE Academy Brokers, and a wide range of colleagues with relevant financial and commercial expertise.
The services we provide can cover:
Educational – what is the trajectory of the school which wishes to join the MAT and what are the underlying issues? How does it compare with schools that share similar features? Is the data the school is providing robust and are the systems that can ensure high quality teaching and learning something that the Trust is able to work with effectively? Are the appropriate staff in place to improve further the quality of teaching and learning and so raise standards?
Cultural – how much common ground is there between the schools in the existing MAT and the school who may be joining the MAT? In particular, is the vision of the MAT something that the leadership (including the Governors) of the new school can fully support? Will that leadership be comfortable with any changes which may come about as a result of joining the MAT?
Land and buildings – what is the value of the site and buildings? What are the building’s condition and the associated likely maintenance/replacement liabilities? Will any Condition Improvement Fund (CIF) bids be necessary? How secure is the school and what additional measures might be necessary to improve security?
Finance – what is the school’s real financial position? Are there any currently hidden problems that could manifest themselves later on? Is the balance between staff costs and other costs appropriate? How much scope is there to fund any necessary improvements to the buildings and facilities? Is there a PFI liability and is the LA fulfilling its Governing Body Agreement obligations?
Commercial – what existing contracts does the school have and are they on good commercial terms? How soon can they be terminated to ensure the MAT can use the leverage of existing Trust-wide contracts to derive better value?
Reputational – what is the school’s reputation in the community? What do the parents and pupils think of it? How do they think it can be improved? How many parents put the school as their first preference in the admissions process?
Marketing – what is the school’s website like? Does it meet statutory guidance? Does the school have an effective and coherent social media presence? How does it communicate with parents, prospective parents, and the wider community?
PNS can also support individual schools who are considering conversion to academy status. We will support you through the ‘mechanical’ elements of the academy conversion process as will many other companies. However, we do also bring to the process the expertise and experience gained from actually being trustees of multi academy trusts and former DfE education advisers. Arising from this, we firmly believe that the quality of work that is conducted at the outset of the process will pay a rich dividend during and after converting to an academy. Our personal commitment to lead each project is what makes us the right people to help you though your journey to become an academy.
PNS offers a comprehensive or ‘menu-driven’ approach to its services. We are pleased to offer a free, no-obligation meeting or telephone conversation to talk through what we can do to help.
Please get in touch. We’d love to hear from you.