The Academy movement is gaining ever-increasing momentum. Once a formula for supporting failing schools, academy status can now be enjoyed by schools rated outstanding, while the advent of multi academy groups offers education providers cross-saving and cross-teaching benefits that were historically unavailable.
However, this popularity for joining academy groups is leading to a complex arena. The initial structures devised for academies were not designed to cope with the size of entities now seen. Groups comprising many tens of academies have sprung up, their academy trust companies often commanding income that would not look out of place in the accounts of a company listed on the London Stock Exchange.
In an attempt to address the pace of expansion, the Department for Education has reviewed its precedent structures with a view to facilitating the administration of both new converters and existing groups. However, these documents do not go far enough. If the academy groups continue to grow, the DfE must start to consider new structures tailored to meet the needs of increasingly complex academy networks.