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Sponsors are responsible for establishing the academy trust, the governing body and the appointment of the headteacher. Once a headteacher is appointed sponsors will work with them closely to develop the organisation, staffing management and leadership as well as an academy’s ethos, vision and curriculum, so the academy can hit the ground running. Sponsors will challenge the head and hold them accountable for performance.
The academy trust is the legal body responsible for running an academy. The trust ensures compliance with the statutory and contractual obligations2 placed on academies through legislation, and their funding agreements. In establishing the trust, a sponsor can often draw upon a wide range of expertise to support the school.
“Sponsorship also provides academies with a broad range of expertise both directly from the sponsor(s) and from his or her business and personal associations.”3
“There is a high level of expertise at trustee level. Linked to this, sponsors have co-opted additional governors who contribute expertise in areas such as financial management and business.”3
When the academy opens, each sponsor brings a diverse range of expertise, time and effort to that particular academy. No matter what their approach, they cannot deliver real transformation without working effectively with the academy trust, governing body, principal and senior leadership team of the school.
Typically activities include:
More generally, sponsors remain involved in the life of the academy in different ways through events, mentoring, business links and often championing the academy in the wider community in order to bring new resources to the academy. A sponsor’s innovation and expertise is highly valued by the students, head, teachers and governors alike.
2 Including acting as employer, and lease or freeholder of the land.
3 PWC Academies Evaluation 5th Annual Report (2008).
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