Earlier this week the Department for Education announced that this Friday is the last day for applications to the Sponsor Capacity Fund, whish is designed to increase the capacity of organisations planning to sponsor underperforming schools by September this year.
However, it has stressed that funding, which is available during this financial year only, is limited and that any awarded will be based on the department’s assessment of how well the application fits with its aims to increase the number of new sponsors.
The DfE has said that when it is assessing applications it will give consideration to need within the areas in which the sponsor is proposing to operate and whether the organisation will make the local sponsor pool more diverse.
The DfE will also consider the number of schools that the organisation is aiming to sponsor and the viability of its plans and whether they align with the Department’s wider strategic aims.
Consideration will also be given to the level of need for and availability of alternative funding, the value for money of estimated costs supplied within the application and the amount of funding available.
As the department says, many schools have already benefited greatly by becoming an academy and being supported by a sponsor who has brought fresh vision, skills and a drive to succeed.
Academy sponsors can be from a variety of backgrounds, such as a high performing school that has recently converted into an academy; an FE College, an independent school, a leader in business, or anyone who can apply strong organisational or educational expertise to transforming the opportunities for young people.
Sponsors are held accountable for the improving the performance of their schools, which they do by challenging traditional thinking on how schools are run and what they should be like for students.
As an accountant, Gill Freeman specialises within academy finances and charity tax.