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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions




What is an Academy?

An Academy is a state funded school, independent from the Local Authority.

What is a Multi-Academy Trust (MAT)?

A MAT is the structure that allows more than one academy to work together under an academy trust.

A Multi Academy Trust (MAT) is governed by one trust and a single board of directors. There are representatives from each school on the Trust Board.

Do we have to become an Academy?

As schools with good results and being categorised as either ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’, conversion to Academy is currently optional. However, Head Teachers and Governors have considered the option to become an Academy very carefully and firmly believe that doing so is right for our schools.

Why should we consider becoming an academy?

In addition to the fact that we believe the greater freedoms and flexibilities will enable us to raise educational standards, there are other factors which are pointing towards conversion to an academy. As central service s provided by the LA are already considerably reduced and the services which we receive are much more limited than they were a few years ago, all schools are being urged to give serious consideration to pursuing conversion to academy status.

The Government’s policy is to encourage conversion and they are currently providing funding to assist with the costs of doing so. The governing body therefore feels that we need to engage actively with this issue; if we wait and ignore the changes that are happening around us, we may lose our choices and have a model of academy conversion imposed upon us.

How would converting to an Academy within a Multi Academy Trust help our schools?

As a Multi Academy Trust, we would have the flexibility to work together, share excellence and ensure that children are able to achieve their best. As 3 schools establishing the trust, we will have the ability to make decisions that are best for our children in establishing the Multi Academy Trust.

Would there be any external sponsors involved, like there are in the ‘sponsored’ academies?


Will the name of the schools or their logos change?


Will each schools uniform change?


Will admissions arrangements change?

There are no current plans to change the admissions criteria. If we decided to change this in the future, we would have to consult with parents.

How will the pupils be affected?

The children will not notice any immediate changes to their current school experience.

What are the safeguards for vulnerable students?

An academy has to act in exactly the same way as a maintained school in relation to SEN, behaviour and exclusions.

Will Ofsted still inspect the schools within the MAT?

Yes. All schools will be subject to an Ofsted inspection in exactly the same way as they do currently.

How accountable are academies?

Academies are subject to inspections by the schools’ inspectorate, Ofsted, in the same way as other schools are. SATs results will continue to be published as at present, alongside those of other state schools in league tables. Academies are accountable directly to the Secretary of State for Education. 

How will the school be financially accountable?

The MAT will be governed by the rules for charitable trusts, so we will be required to produce and file annual accounts.

Each school will continue to manage its own budget that is devolved from the trust. Schools are only able to convert if they are able to prove that they are in a strong financial position.

Will the schools receive more money from government?

The decision to convert to an Academy is not financially motivated.

However, as Academies within a Multi Academy Trust, funding will no longer be top sliced by the Local Authority for central services.

As a Multi Academy Trust, we will have more control over how we spend our budget in order to raise standards.

How will becoming an Academy affect staff?

The staff in each school will be employed by the Academy Trust rather than Havering. Staff are legally protected and will transfer under the same terms and conditions, including pensions.

Where can I get further information?

The Department for Education website has information about academies, including an extensive set of themed questions and answers: www.education.gov.uk/academies

Stakeholders can also visit the Multi Academy Trust website: www.hornchurchacademy.org