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City Academies

Volume 450: debated on Monday 16 October 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what criteria and guidelines are used when choosing sponsors for city academies. (92496)

Academies are established with the involvement of sponsors from the voluntary, private or faith sectors. Sponsors must be able to show a commitment to providing the highest standard of education for all pupils and to provide £2 million towards the cost of each academy, or £1.5 million where they have sponsored three previous academies.

Independent consultants carry out a thorough due diligence check on all potential sponsors during the pre-feasibility stage, and Ministers apply a public interest test to sponsors on a case-by-case basis to ensure that the funding is from an appropriate source. We give preference to British or foreign sponsors with business interests in the UK; who are long standing UK residents; or who have businesses interests in jurisdictions with effective and open business governance where it is easier to assess risk against the guidance.

Sponsorship is purely philanthropic. Sponsors cannot make a profit and the schools cannot charge fees. Sponsors, like all academy trustees, are bound by charitable law to act in the best interests of their academies. Parents are consulted about academy projects and potential sponsors during feasibility.