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Academies: Finance

Volume 480: debated on Thursday 16 October 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families if he will make a statement on the level of start-up funding in academies compared with Fresh Start schools. (224670)

Start-up grants for academies are designed to enable a new body—the academy trust—to effect a complete educational transformation for the pupils. To this end, start-up grant provides for substantial new resources in terms of books, equipment and materials. If the academy is not full, start-up grant also helps meet the overhead costs of the senior and middle management teams, so that these can be of a size and quality to carry through that transformation, and various transitional costs during the period in which new buildings are being constructed. It also meets necessary expenditure on transforming the ethos of an academy such as uniform and induction costs. The length of time over which start-up grant is payable depends on the rate of pupil build-up and building completion.

The level of start-up grant for academies is therefore, in most cases, substantially higher than that for a Fresh Start school, which has a more limited purpose. Giving poorly performing schools a Fresh Start can be a very successful way to raise standards. In some cases, this may be the appropriate short-term action, prior to a long term solution such as an Academy or a Trust. Giving a school a fresh start means closing and reopening it on the same site under the normal school reorganisation procedures. Schools requiring a Fresh Start are allocated revenue and capital funding on the basis of need based on the size and phase of the school. Capital resources to support a Fresh Start of a school will involve either a re-build of the school or development of suitable teaching facilities needed at neighbouring school to enable closure of the school needing a fresh start.