Portsmouth and Winchester Diocesan Academies Trust

Frequently Asked Questions


What is a Multi-Academy Trust?

A Multi Academy Trust is where a number of schools join together and form a single Trust, answerable to a Board of Directors/Trust members. The members of the Trust are responsible for the strategic oversight of the academy. They are the conscience of the Trust, ensuring that the objectives of the whole Trust are upheld.

They appoint most of the Trust’s directors, who determine the policies of the Trust, monitor the effectiveness of individual academies, manage any centrally run services and report to the Secretary of State. The directors deploy strategies for working with their academies to ensure that they are performing to their best ability and accessing the support that they require. The Trust is the legal entity and it has a set of Articles that govern all the academies within it. Each of the academies in the Trust has its own local governing body that deals with local issues.

The Trust is accountable for all its academies. However, before any agreements are signed, the Trust will work with schools to agree those matters that will be handled centrally and those that will remain the responsibility of the individual academy local governing bodies. This agreement will be encapsulated in the Scheme of Delegation.

What is a 'coasting school' and what are the implications?

The government has provided  regulations to the commons bill committee that set out how, through the Education and Adoption Bill, a school will be defined as 'coasting'. Coasting schools criteria applied from September 2016.

A decision to define a school as coasting will require three years of data.. If a school is above the line on any of the measures in any of those years, it is not a coasting school.


In 2017, a secondary school is defined as coasting if…

  • In 2015, fewer than 60% of pupils achieved 5 A*-C at GCSE (including English
    and maths) and less than the national median achieved expected progress in
    English and in maths, and

  • in 2016, the school’s Progress 8 score was below -0.25, and

  • in 2017, the school’s Progress 8 score was below -0.25


Secondary schools are excluded from the measure if they have fewer than six pupils at the end of key stage 4, or less than 50 per cent of pupils have key stage 2 assessments that can be used in Progress 8 calculations, or if the school closes within the academic year.


primary school is defined as coasting if…

  • In 2015, fewer than 85% of pupils achieved level 4 in English reading, English
    writing and mathematics and below the national median percentage of pupils
    achieved expected progress in all of English reading, English writing and
    mathematics, and

  • In 2016, fewer than 85% of pupils achieved the expected standard at the end of
    primary schools and average progress made by pupils was less than -2.5 in
    English reading, -2.5 in mathematics or -3.5 in English writing, and

  • In 2017, fewer than 85% of pupils achieved the expected standard at the end of
    primary schools and average progress made by pupils was less than -2.5 in
    English reading, -2.5 in mathematics or -3.5 in English writing.


Primary schools are excluded from the measure if they have fewer than 11 pupils at the end of key stage 2, or fewer than 50 per cent of pupils had key stage 1 assessments that can be used to establish prior attainment.

They will also be excluded if there is not “sufficient key stage 2 attainment information” to produce progress scores because there are fewer than 6 pupils with key stage 2 results for a particular subject, or if the school closes within the academic year.


What happens to a coasting school?

The first step is not forced academy conversion or replacement of the leadership team. The school should have an opportunity to demonstrate a plan of improvement and, if credible, to be able to action this. If the school is struggling to demonstrate this plan, the next step is to pair the existing team with a neighbouring school or NLE. Only after this, is sponsored conversion implemented. The Regional Schools Commissioner will make these decisions.


If you are concerned about the coasting school agenda, please make contact with us.

I am a church aided school and have/am considering making an LCVAP bid - how would academy status affect me?

If your church aided school converts to become an academy (standalone or within a trust), before the LCVAP project has commenced, any LCVAP funding that has been allocated to the school, will not be granted.

If your school converts mid-year with an LCVAP project running, and any unforeseen additional costs occur, you will not be eligible for further LCVAP to assist with these costs, as LCVAP is only applicable to VA schools - therefore the school would be liable for any additional costs.

If a school is considering making a bid, or has a project running, it would be sensible for the schools to delay conversion until any LCVAP project was completed.

If you are considering academy conversion and have any building projects planned with LCVAP, DfC or through Basic Need funding etc. please contact our CEO for further advice before proceeding.


How are academies funded? -  An overview

In maintained schools, the Local Authority provides the school’s budget.  The Local Authority will retain a proportion of the school’s budget to fund some central functions.  Maintained schools also purchase some services from the Local Authority such as payroll services, financial management systems and buildings maintenance.  Schools then choose how to spend the rest of their budget.  The vast majority of a school’s budget is usually spent on staffing and essential services, such as utilities.

In contrast, academies receive their entire budget directly from central government from the Education Funding Agency (EFA), in line with their Funding Agreement, without any ‘top slice’ being taken by a Local Authority.  An Academy is then free to choose, independently, how to purchase services.  Academies can still opt to buy some services from the Local Authority if they choose to.  Academies are therefore responsible for securing best-value in the procurement of a wide-range of supplies and services.

As a consequence of the financial freedoms and autonomy gained, each academy is required to produce annual accounts which comply with both charity and company law.  These annual accounts must be audited by an independent auditor and gain a Statement of Regularity in order to assure the EFA and the National Audit Office that appropriate systems and processes are in place to mitigate the occurrence of fraud.

Upon conversion, each academy must obtain an actuarial valuation of the financial position of its share in the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) for associate staff.  It is widely recognised that the LGPS is in a deficit position and therefore each academy will share a proportion of this deficit.  This figure will be entered into the academies annual accounts as a liability.  An actuarial valuation will be required in subsequent financial years to ensure the figure entered into the accounts truly reflects the position of the academy’s pension fund.

There is an expectation that academies will change their financial reporting year to 1 September – 31 August. 

How are academies' budgets calculated?

For those academies which become part of the P&WDAT (Portsmouth & Winchester Diocesan Academies Trust) family, the responsibility for adhering to the details of the Funding Agreement falls to the Trust.   As the funding for all its academies sits within the master Funding Agreement between P&WDAT and the Secretary of State, the remittances from the Education Funding Agency (EFA) are received into the P&WDAT bank account.  It then remains the responsibility of the Trust to distribute funds to the individual academies.  Academies' budgets, from the EFA, are made up of the following income streams:

  • School budget share of the General Annual Grant (GAG) based on pupil led factors including notional Special Educational Needs (SEN) which are:
    • Basic Entitlement Age Weighted Pupil Units (AWPU)
    • Deprivation
    • Looked After Children
    • Low cost, high incidence SEN
    • English as an Additional Language
    • Mobility
  • Education Services Grant (ESG) which reflects the amount previously centrally retained by the LA
  • Start Up Grant
  • Pre and Post 16 High Needs funding for Special and Alternative Provisions Block (ie for those with Mainstream Autism Base)
  • Pupil premium and other government directed grants (e.g. PE & Sports Grant, UIFSM)
  • High Needs Funding from the LA

How is the work of the Trust funded?

In the first instance it is the Trust which receives all of the funding for its schools from the Education Funding Agency (EFA). Before sending funds on to the individual academies, P&WDAT retains 5% of the academy GAG (General Annual Grant) and Education Services Grant (ESG). Services available are listed below:


  • Education: support, monitoring, developing strategies for moderating and securing improvement, including Principal performance management
  • Ethos, RE curriculum, Collective Worship and Christian distinctiveness
  • The Development of central Policies, Procedures and guidance
  • Communication and Branding
  • Financial Statutory Accounts, External Audit and the annual Teachers’ Pension Scheme return
  • DfE/EFA and Statutory returns
  • Strategic Financial Planning (budgets, VAT, cash flow)
  • Exchequer services (banking)
  • Strategic Procurement including capital bids
  • HR Services
  • Buildings Support to include the development of capital bids under the Condition Improvement Fund programme.
  • Co-ordination of Insurance Cover
  • Co-ordination of central Finance IT systems, with related training and advice

Other Queries:


How are our academies managed?

They are run on a day to day basis by a Trust Board appointed Principal and senior leadership team, all of whom are supported by a local governing body and the Trust central team, This local governing body is selected by the Trust Board, which has strategic oversight and overall responsibility of the academies.


Will a proposed new academy have a new name?

This will be decided on an individual basis by consultation amongst staff, parents and governors with final determination by the Trust Board.


Will a proposed new academy have a new uniform?

This will be decided on an individual basis by consultation amongst staff, parents and governors with final determination by the Trust Board.


How is the Trust linked to the Diocese of Portsmouth and Diocese of Winchester?

The Diocese acts as a sponsor to the Portsmouth and Winchester Diocesan Academies Trust and the DBE and Bishops have a role in appointing Members and authorising academy conversion. 


Will pupils’ education be affected by a transition to academy status?

When an academy is approved to go ahead, it will do so with minimal disruption to the staff and children. This will be ensured by a detailed programme being created in order to outline the step-by-step guide on the progress. The main priority is to ensure the safe working environment for both staff and children while work is being undertaken whilst providing a first class standard of education.


How long is a sponsor committed to an academy?

Although there is no anticipated time limit for the Diocese to carry on its sponsorship, it has had a long standing commitment to education in its parish and so this is expected to continue.


Who owns the academy building and site?

The building and site (excluding the field) is owned by the relevant Diocesan Board of Finance (Winchester) or Portsmouth Diocesan Educational Trust (Portsmouth) and will continue to be held in trust as it is at present, to allow the current school to operate as an academy. This relationship is formalised with the Trust via a Supplemental Agreement document.


Who is an academy governing body be accountable to?

The local governing body of an academy is accountable to the Trust Board and in turn the Trust Board, to the Secretary of State. A scheme of delegation is in place to determine decision making at the appropriate levels. The Trust is required to publish procedures of its meetings. As a company limited by guarantee, the academy must prepare and file an independently audited annual report and accounts with Companies House. The Trust must also hold a public annual general meeting.


Will the school hours be any different as an academy?

Although it is unlikely that the school day will be changed, it is the decision of the individual academy to decide this as they are given the power to do so. Parents will be consulted on this prior to a decision being made.