Funding Agreement changes for projects progressing October 2018
From October 2018 onwards, Multi Academy Trusts (MATs) will need to be operating under the latest March 2018 Supplemental Funding Agreement (SFA) and Master Funding Agreement (MFA) for all projects.
Below are some bullet points summarising the key changes.
MATs have two options with their MFA:
- To bring all existing SFAs under a new MFA. If the trust has a small number of academies, making this change should not be very difficult and creates a streamline approach.
- Adopt the new model MFA just for the schools currently joining the Trust. The Department for Education (DfE) will allow the MAT to adopt the latest model MFA as a second MFA (or third) and the latest model SFAs, in order to allow the new academy to join the trust. The downside of having multiple MFAs is that the Trust is essentially bound by a suite of documents which Trustees have to navigate through.
Changes to the Master Funding Agreement
- General – as a general note, there have been minor amendments throughout the MFA to ensure the document reflects the most update terminology and legislation
- Looked after children – the MFA has been updated to require all MATs to have a specific member of staff responsible for the educational achievement of Looked After Children and Previously Looked After Children
- Curriculum – the MFA now states that the curriculum must include Religious Education
- GAG – the MFA includes additional wording to clarify that GAG can be used for Governor training
- Disposal of land – even where the Secretary of State (SoS) consent is not required for the disposal of land, the MAT must still give 30 days' notice of the disposal
- Academies Financial Handbook (AFH) Threshold – the MFA clarifies that the MAT must not provide securities, write off debts or offer to make special payments without the consent of the SoS, if the value of those transactions would be above any threshold in the AFH.
Changes to the Supplemental Funding Agreement
- Land acquired by the SoS - an additional clause (version 8) has been inserted into the SFA to cover the situation where an academy is taking a lease granted by the SoS – this is likely to apply only to Free Schools in the first instance.
- Pupil premium pupils - the SFA states that any school can now prioritise pupil premium pupils within its admissions policy.
- Appealing admissions - the SFA now deals specifically with appealing an admissions process. The SFA provides that the MAT must make arrangements to ensure that an independent appeals panel is established. Parents and 'relevant children' must be informed of their right to appeal if they are dissatisfied with the admissions process.
As you can see, the changes to the new MFA and SFA are minimal but it is important that your Trustees are made aware of these.