Kreston Reeves UK Academies Benchmark Report 2024

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Kreston Reeves UK
Academies Benchmark
Report 2024

The Kreston Reeves UK Academies Benchmark Report for 2024 presents an in-depth analysis of the financial health and operational challenges facing academy trusts across the United Kingdom. The report, which draws on data from nearly 300 Trusts and over 2,300 schools, offers a comprehensive overview of the sector's current state, highlighting the resilience and challenges of academy trusts in navigating the financial year ending in August 2023.

Kreston Reeves Academies Benchmark Report '24 Summary

One of Kreston Reeves' key findings is a significant increase in the number of academies dipping into their reserves to manage the substantial cost increases affecting the sector. The proportion of trusts running in-year deficits, meaning they are spending more than their allocated revenue for the year, has more than doubled since 2021, escalating from 19% to 47%​​​​​​.

Despite these financial pressures, particularly non-staffing costs which surged by 16% per pupil largely due to a minimum 49% rise in energy costs per pupil, the sector has shown resilience, performing better than anticipated. This is attributed to effective cost management strategies, unexpected government funding including the Mainstream Schools Additional Grant (MSAG) and the Schools Supplementary Grant (SSG), and £447 million in Energy Efficiency Grants​​.

The report also highlights a trend towards income and reserves pooling among multi-academy trusts (MATs) as a strategic approach to financial management, aiming to improve educational outcomes across trusts. However, the pace of growth in MATs is slowing, reflecting a cautious stance in an uncertain financial landscape. Staffing costs, while slightly decreasing as a proportion of total costs, remain a concern, with the sector calling for additional funding to sustain high-quality education​​.

Significant concerns include the uncertainty around future funding and income streams, heavily impacting the sector's ability to make long-term financial decisions. This uncertainty has led to a cautious approach towards investment and expansion, with many trusts unable to make decisions around investment​​.

Despite the challenges, the sector's resilience and the strategic financial management practices of MATs offer some optimism. However, the report calls for a fair per-pupil settlement that considers the unique needs of the sector and emphasizes the importance of strategic planning and additional funding to navigate the ongoing challenges​​​​​​​​.

For those interested in the intricate details of financial operations and the strategic directions of UK academies, the Kreston Reeves UK Academies Benchmark Report 2024 serves as an essential resource, shedding light on both the successes and challenges within the sector.

If you are interested in support with your school or trust's finances, please do not hesitate to get in touch. PAG has significant experience supporting the operation of schools and trusts, as well as an expert partner network including specialists in procurement and finances.

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