The DfE make changes to the model funding agreements

The DfE has approved revised versions of the Master Funding Agreement (MFA), Single Supplemental Funding Agreement (SSFA) and the Supplemental Funding Agreement (SFA) which means all academies opening on 1 April 2018 or later must use the new model agreements.

Explanation of the MFA and SFA

Each academy will need an SFA, which runs alongside the MFA and these agreements should be read in conjunction with each other.

The MFA is entered into between the Secretary of State for Education (SoS) and the Multi Academy Trust (MAT), and is the framework under which the MAT agrees to operate in return for funding. The MFA deals with issues such as, admissions, exclusions and reporting requirements.

The SFA is also entered into between the SoS and the MAT, and includes information specific to the particular school, such as its name, capacity and age range. It also deals with how the land will be held by the MAT.

The main changes to the Funding Agreements

Two essential changes have been identified. These include additional wording to the clause on teachers and staff, following the commencement of the Children and Social Work Act 2017; namely that the MAT must designate a staff member at the school responsible for promoting the educational success of a pupil who is being looked after by the local authority, and now covers pupils that are no longer looked after by the local authority. Secondly, a new land clause (version 8), to be used where the academy is taking a lease granted by the Department for Communities and Local Governments (DCLG). Where version 8 clauses apply, the new SFA must be used immediately.

There have also been some minor amendments to the Agreements to remove potential uncertainties in some clauses, and to ensure the Agreements reflect the most update terminology and legislation, including the old EFA to the new Education Skills and Funding Agency (ESFA).

Changes to the MFA

  • As mentioned above, additional wording has been inserted in relation to role of the teachers and staff, which adds a requirement for a MAT to have a specific member of staff responsible for the educational achievement of Looked After Children and 'previously' Looked After Children.
  • The curriculum must include English, mathematics, science and religious education;
  • Clarification on GAG has been provided to make is clear GAG can also be used for governors.

Changes to the SFA

  • As mentioned above, an additional clause (version 8) has been inserted into the SFA covering where an academy is taking a lease granted by DCLG, although this is likely to apply to Free Schools in the first instance;
  • Any school can now prioritise pupil premium pupils;
  • Clarification has been provided on the Academies responsibilities in relation to dissatisfaction with the admissions system; amended wording has been inserted into clause 2.P which provides that the MAT must make arrangements to ensure an independent appeals panel is established, and parents and 'relevant children' are informed of their right to appeal if they are dissatisfied with the admissions process.

These are just a brief summary of the main changes to the Funding Agreements; further information will be available from the DfE once the new versions are released at the end of the month.