Kreston UK Academies Benchmark Report 2024 published

February 6, 2024

Sector: Charities, Not-For-Profit and Education

The recently published Kreston UK Academies Benchmark Report 2024 reveals critical insights into the financial health of the academy sector. This comprehensive study shows a significant shift towards financial instability, with a marked increase in academies resorting to their reserves amid rising costs.

Download the Kreston UK Academies Benchmark Report here

Deficit increase

In the financial year ending 2023, the proportion of trusts operating at an in-year deficit—spending more than their allocated revenue—has alarmingly doubled since 2021, from 19% to 47%. This uptick underscores the growing financial pressures on the sector, particularly due to non-staffing costs which have surged by 16% per pupil, significantly influenced by a minimum 49% rise in energy costs per pupil.

Mainstream Schools Additional Grant (MSAG) and the Schools Supplementary Grant (SSG)

Despite these challenges, the sector has shown resilience, performing better than anticipated thanks to effective cost management strategies and unexpected government funding, including the Mainstream Schools Additional Grant (MSAG) and the Schools Supplementary Grant (SSG), alongside £447 million in Energy Efficiency Grants. These measures have provided essential support, preventing many trusts from slipping into deficit.

However, the persistent uncertainty around future funding and income streams has heavily impacted the sector’s ability to make long-term financial decisions, leading to a cautious approach towards investment and expansion. The report highlights the importance of strategic planning and calls for a fair per-pupil settlement that considers the sector’s unique needs.

Reserves pooling

Additionally, the trend towards income and reserves pooling among multi-academy trusts (MATs) continues to grow, demonstrating a strategic approach to financial management aimed at improving educational outcomes across trusts.

This year’s findings indicate a slowing in MAT growth, reflecting the sector’s cautious stance in an uncertain financial landscape. Staffing costs remain a concern, with a slight decrease in their proportion of total costs, yet the sector calls for additional funding to sustain high-quality education and meet the economy’s needs.

Get in touch

For in-depth insights and detailed analysis of the financial state of the UK academy sector, we encourage readers to download the full Kreston UK Academies Benchmark Report. This report is invaluable for anyone involved in or interested in the financial dynamics of educational institutions. To learn more about the report and Kreston UK, visit Bishop Fleming’s website.