Becoming an Academy

The conversion of schools to academies has become widespread over recent years.  Your reasons for researching academy conversions may be very different to another school; it is right that each school has a different priority and this should not be forgotten.

There are three main reasons why a school is about to convert to an academy:

  • The Governing Board have made the decision to covert,
  • The school has been told it must convert due to capacity or performance issues, or
  • They have been identified as a Coasting School and the Regional Schools Commissioner (RSC) has made the decision that the school must convert

For those schools where the decision has been made for them, the process will tend to be led by the Department for Education (DfE) or the Local Authority.

For schools who have made the decision themselves, there is a structured process to follow:

Activity Detail Timeframe
Pre-Application Register your interest with the DfE, Read essential guides from the DfE regarding academy finance and good practice, Consider and ensure you have consent, Liaise with the DfE, Consider consultation with school stakeholders, Consider any legal advice available, Complete due diligence for the MAT you have decided to join * Approximately 1 to 2 months
Apply to convert Complete your application form, Notify your DfE lead, submit papers and information to the Head Teacher’s Board One month
Setting Up Your Academy Receive Academy Order and Funding Allocation Letter, Appoint legal resource if required, Initiate Statutory Consultation, Open Academies Bank Account, Initiate land transfer activity, Complete and submit your draft memorandum and articles of association, Complete and submit your draft Funding Agreement (FA), Appoint the academy’s Local Governing Body (LGB) One to two months
Transfer Responsibilities to the Academy Trust Complete all land and lease arrangements, Complete Commercial Transfer Agreement (CTA), Transfer staff, Complete agreements for shared facilities and any remaining building works, Transfer or procure external contracts Two to three months
Prepare to Open as an Academy Complete Statutory Consultation, Finalise FA, Appoint Academy officers and auditors, Ensure insurance policies are in place, Complete Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks, Notify Edubase and exam boards (if applicable) Two to four weeks

The above timeframes indicate between a five and nine-month academy conversion process (from setting up your academy to opening).  Each conversion differs depending on any complexities (usually due to land and staff transfers).  GLK would work with the school and the Local Authority to identify any potential issues that may arise and affect the timelines for conversion.

* Due diligence should be completed by both the school converting and the Multi-Academy Trust the school is joining.  You may have made the decision to set up your own MAT.  Therefore, you would complete due diligence on any school joining.  The sole purpose of this process is for both schools and MATs to fully understand any risk they are taking on as a result of expanding or joining a MAT.  Due diligence does not feature as part of the GLK conversion package due to the importance of it being independent.  We can recommend our Associate, Sally Williams-McGlone; you can see her details on our Associates page.


Please contact a member of the GLK Solutions team today to discuss your conversion requirements.  We offer a no obligation review meeting to discuss your project and to see where we may be able to offer support.