Schools: Finance

Department for Education written question – answered on 1st July 2019.

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Photo of Angela Rayner Angela Rayner Shadow Secretary of State for Education

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how much funding his Department has spent or plans to spend on converting schools to academies in (a) 2017-18, (b) 2018-19, (c) 2019-20, (d) 2020-21, (e) 2021-22, (f) 2022-23 and (g) 2023-24.

Photo of Nadhim Zahawi Nadhim Zahawi The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

Between 2017-18 and the end of May 2019, the department has spent £69 million on pre-opening start-up grants to support local authority schools to convert to become academies. This includes the conversion of failing local authority schools to become sponsored academies in order to improve pupil outcomes. In addition, further capital costs are incurred for some cases where the fabric of school buildings has not been sufficiently well maintained.

Further details can be found in in the table below:

Financial Year



£38 million


£30 million

2019-20 (as at end of May 2019)

£1 million


£69 million

Future years’ spending plans have yet to be determined and will form part of the next Spending Review.

Academy status leads to a more dynamic and responsive education system by allowing schools to make decisions based on local need and the interests of their pupils.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, is required by legislation to intervene in underperforming maintained schools rated inadequate by Ofsted and to issue an academy order for the school to become a sponsored academy. Recent research found that sponsored academies, particularly those open longest, have made substantial gains in performance in comparison with similar non-academy schools. The latest figures show that over 7 out of 10 sponsored academies are good or outstanding, replacing schools that were mostly underperforming. 85% of children are now in good or outstanding schools, compared to just 66% in 2010, and this is in part down to our reforms.

Where academies choose to come together in academy trusts, they can take advantage of economies of scale and drive down the costs of procurement and so are able to invest more in teaching. By working in partnership with each other, schools can benefit from sharing staff, curriculum expertise and effective pedagogy.

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