Our Academies team have extensive experience in the sector, having advised on some of the earliest academy conversions, including advising Diocesan multi-academy trusts (MATs) and local schools forming mixed MATs. The team also advised one of the first Church of England MATs working across two Dioceses.
Head of Academies Emma Swann was recently instructed in relation to the transfer of an all-through academy, with nursery and sixth form provision, from an academy trust to a MAT. This involved advising initially on the stakeholder consultation. Emma and the team also advised on the Deed of Novation and Variation and on the new supplemental funding agreement with the Department for Education.
The team drafted and negotiated the Commercial Transfer Agreement to transfer staff, contracts and assets from the existing MAT to the new MAT. They also provided advice in respect of TUPE, and helped to navigate and provide advice on the governance structure of the new MAT.
Support was also provided in respect of implementing changes to a MATs curriculum which resulted in redundancies. Furthermore, Emma has provided extensive advice in respect of the establishment and operation of trading subsidiaries of academies. These relate, for instance, to a sports centre, and the transfer of the sports centre into an existing subsidiary of a new MAT, including the subsequent dissolution of the subsidiary company following the transfer.
The team regularly advises faith academies, and recently supported a Church of England MAT on its expansion with another church school joining the trust. This included advice on the governance structure to ensure that it reflects the principles and tenets of the Church of England family of schools. The process meant negotiating and agreeing with a Diocese, Church Supplemental Agreements for the use of the school land post-conversion.
An existing MAT was also supported on academy conversions as primary and secondary schools joined the rapidly expanding trust. This included an extremely complex conversion when a community school sited for historical reasons on Church of England land joined the Trust.