Issue - decisions

Proposal to charge maintained schools for the average cost of conversion to become an academy school

17/07/2019 - Proposal to charge maintained schools for the cost of conversion to become an academy school



1. The charging of schools for the costs to the council on an ‘averaged’ basis was approved.


2. That charges of £6,000 for a community or voluntary controlled school, £5,000 for a voluntary aided school (which does not require HR service input); £4,000 for foundation or trust schools (which do not require human resource or property service input); and charges to be negotiated on a case by case basis for private finance initiative (PFI) schools was approved.


3. That annual consideration of charges, taking account of any inflation or deflation in the specific areas of work, be delegated to the Executive Director for Children, Families and Learning and that the Council’s constitution be amended to allow the scheme of delegation to reflect this.


4. That charges be levied for any new school formally requesting to convert to academy status (upon receipt of approval from the Department for Education) from 1 September 2019 was agreed.


Reason for Decision:


The costs nationally of schools converting to become academy trusts (or becoming a part of an existing trust) are high.  The House of Commons committee of public accounts estimated in its report, published in July 2018 and entitled ‘Converting schools to academies’, that the cost to the government of conversions had been £745,000,000 since 2010.


The committee noted that the full cost of conversion, including spending by schools and local authorities, is unclear.  Surrey County Council, unlike many other top-tier councils in England, has not adopted a policy of charging for the costs it bears relating to such transfers.  This currently means that the burden is shifted from general taxation to the council tax payer in Surrey.  It also has an effect on the resources available for other council priorities.


For these reasons, it is proposed to charge schools, on the basis set out in recommendations above, for the costs to the council of conversions, on an averaged basis.


[The decisions on this item can be called in by the Children, Families, Lifelong Learning & Culture Select Committee]