Guidance for Sixth Form Colleges looking to become Academies – an update

Recently updated Government guidance suggests that allowing Sixth Form Colleges to become Academies will enable them to build effective partnerships, whilst realising the education and financial benefits of sharing resources and expertise.

All Sixth Form Colleges in England can apply to become Academies, if, amongst other things, 80% of their students are 16 – 19 years old.

Considerations of the Sixth Form College when deciding if they can meet the approval criteria

  • Explore potential partnerships as early as possible
  • Obtain independent legal advice
  • Look into the implications of dissolving the college and transferring to an Academy trust
  • Complete financial and legal due diligence
  • Hold consultations with key stakeholders on the dissolution of the Sixth Form College and the creation of an Academy
  • Get relevant consents for your proposal (from the existing Sixth Form College, MAT trustees, any relevant diocese, commercial lenders etc.)
  • Assess the costs of becoming an Academy (project management, consultancy, legal advice etc.) – you will be eligible for a transition grant to cover some of these costs

Steps to become an Academy

  1. Consider whether to develop a proposal to become an Academy – the proposal will be considered after the relevant area review
  2. Make an expression of interest to the Joint Area Review Delivery Unit when you receive your area review recommendations
  3. Begin the formal application and submit it to the Sixth Form College Commissioner ('SFCC') and the Regional Schools Commissioner ('RSC'). If approved, this provides for 'in principle' approval for the application to be considered by the Transactions Unit ('TU')
  4. The TU will assess the financial parts of your report, and if happy, will seek approval from Ministers for Restructuring Facility funding ('Ministers').
  5. Once approved by Ministers, RSC and SFCC can confirm the application to become an Academy
  6. The implementation process starts, which involves entering into the necessary funding agreements.

If you would like more information, please speak to one of our Education Team who would be more than happy to help.