Academies are described by the Education & Skills Funding Agency as publicly funded independent schools.
Academies get money directly from the government, not the local council. They’re run by an academy trust which employs the staff.
Each academy or academy trust has a contract – ‘the funding agreement’ – directly with the Secretary of State for Education. This is how they receive their funding, and although there are model agreements, each academy has negotiated their own funding agreement with the Secretary of State. This means that funding agreements differ and it is important to remember this when there is a concern/complaint that needs to be resolved.
Academies don’t have to follow the national curriculum and can set their own term times, staff salaries, syllabus. They still have to follow the same rules on admissions, special educational needs and exclusions as other state schools.
The Education & Skills Funding Agency handles complaints about academies on behalf of the Secretary of State for Education. More about this can be found here.
Finding your local Academies’ funding agreements
Always obtain the funding agreement for the academy you are dealing with. The funding agreements are no longer available from one link. To obtain the funding agreement search for the academy by reference to its full name in the performance table section of the DfE website.
Or ask the academy to provide a copy under the Freedom of Information Act. They have 20 days to respond. They may charge for this, under the FoI Regulations, however this can be no more than the actual cost of providing the information and must not exceed £50 or £10 if the information does not include a child’s educational record.
You could also contact the DfE via the ‘contact us’ page on its website to request it:
Again, it should be sent to you within 20 days (under the FoI Regulations).
When you have the Funding Agreement, look at the SEN annex (usually Annex 3 or C).