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The land transfer advice document describes the arrangements under the Academies Act 2010 for securing the land arrangements for academies. The advice also reflects changes arising from the commencement of provisions on the treatment of land contained in the Education Act 2011, especially Schedule 14 to the Act which introduces a replacement to Schedule 1 of the Academies Act 2010.The guidance is a toolkit for schools converting to academy status, and especially for their lawyers. It provides general advice on the arrangements that will need to be put in place to secure the use of land for an academy and gives the Department’s starting point on how this should be handled for each main category of school. It will also be of assistance to local authorities in understanding the framework in respect of land when a school wishes to convert to academy status,
The land flow charts provide a visual representation of the stages involved, depending on the category of school that is converting.
Details on the process for conversion are outlined in the guidance document.
The Department has revised the documents needed to establish land arrangements for schools converting to academy status. “Land questionnaires” will replace the Summary Report on Title. We hope that they will make it easier for schools to provide all the land information that is needed and we encourage all schools to complete them as early as possible. Experience has shown that unclear land arrangements are one of the main reasons some schools cannot convert to academy status as quickly as they would like. There are four versions of the land questionnaire because the information the Department needs to clarify land arrangements is dependent on the type of school. The land questionnaires can be downloaded from the Associated Resources section at the bottom of this page.
The appropriate land questionnaire must be used for all schools who wish to become an academy from 1st May 2012 onwards. Schools planning to become academies earlier than 1st May can also use them, but can also continue to use the Summary Report on Title.
There are two model directions to a governing body (GB) - this is because there are different models for a direction to transfer land to either a single or a multi academy trust.
The direction to the GB will be required for any public land (see pages 2, 5 and 6 of the land transfer advice document for a definition of what constitutes public land) that is held by the GB – i.e. a foundation school without a foundation, but also potentially for some foundation or VA/VC schools, where some of their land may be held by the GB (the report on title will identify which land is owned by whom).
For detailed background and guidance, you should refer to pages 9 and 10 of the land transfer advice document.
The direction to the GB requires minimal drafting work – in essence inputting the name of the converting school, the academy and the date of the academy order.
The terms of the direction will need to be agreed between the lawyers for the converting school and the Department.
There are four model directions. This is because there are different models for a direction to transfer land to either a single or a multi academy trust; and for each type of academy trust (single or multi) there are different models for transfer of either a freehold or a leasehold interest in the land.
Directions will be required when any public land (as to which, see pages 2, 5 and 6 of the land transfer advice document) owned by a foundation or trust and is to be transferred to the academy.
The schedule to the direction needs to list and identify all the land that is to be transferred. The drafting of the schedule – describing the land to be transferred – is a matter principally for the lawyers for the converting school and the foundation or trust (and will usually need to capture all the land identified in the Report on Title as being foundation/trust owned that is public, unless it has been agreed with the Department that such land can remain with the foundation or trust).
Please see pages 9 and 10 of the land transfer advice document for further information.
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