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News archive - November/December 2017

DfE highlights soaring academy numbers and running costs

DfE highlights soaring academy numbers and running costs

The Department for Education (DfE) has issued its first combined academy sector annual report and accounts, setting out the consolidated performance and financial results of all academy schools in England over the 2015/16 academic year.

The report shows significant growth in the number of academies since 2010 when there were just 203. In 2016, there were 5,773 open academies, free schools, UTCs and studio schools in England. In total, around two thirds of secondary schools and a fifth of primary schools have become academies.

The number of free schools also continues to increase, with 68 new free schools, university technical colleges and studio schools opening their doors in the year to July 2016. As at 31 July 2016 there were 382 open free schools (including UTCs and studio schools) in England.

The sector reported an operating surplus of £534 million for the year ended 31 August 2016. This represents an average operating surplus of approximately £90,000 for each individual academy school.

At 31 August 2016, 2,819 trusts had cumulative surpluses, with a total cumulative surplus of £2,287 million. 165 ATs had a cumulative deficit, with a total deficit figure of £50 million. Revenue grants formed 83% of total income (£17.1 billion of a total £20.5 billion) with capital grants making up a further 9% of income (£1.9 billion).

Income from the DfE and its component bodies made up 88% of total income received by the sector (£18.0 billion), with 4% (£0.9 billion) received from local government. An additional 6% (£1.3 billion) was received from other sources, including income from catering, rental and other fund generating activities.

Staff costs comprised 71% (£14.2 billion) of total staff and operating expenditure for the sector. A further 17% (£3.5 billion) was spent on other operating costs, including educational supplies and IT and telecommunications. Property related costs were 5%(£0.9bn).

The sector’s assets at 31 August 2016 totalled £52.7 billion. Of these, land and buildings formed 86% (£45.4 billion), with assets under construction being a further 3% (£1.7 billion).

At 31 August 2016, 2,819 trusts had cumulative surpluses, with a total cumulative surplus of £2,287 million4 and a mean cumulative surplus of £811,000 per trust. There were 165 (5.5%) ATs with a cumulative deficit of funds. The total deficit figure was £50 million, with a mean deficit of circa £306,000 per trust.

At 31 July 2016, 27% of state-funded schools were operating as academies, although this proportion varied by type of provision, as shown in Figure 6. While academies accounted for 66% of all secondary provision, they accounted for between 19% and 25% of other types of provision. This is because the academies programme was initially focused on secondary school provision. Additionally, as there are fewer state-funded secondary schools than primary schools, a smaller number of secondary academies represents a bigger proportion of state-funded secondary schools.

At 31 July 2016, there were 3,636 (63%) academies, free schools, studio schools and UTCs in a MAT with more than one academy, forming 763 MATs. There were 2,137 academies, free schools, studio schools and UTCs in a SAT, or in a MAT with only one academy.