GAG pooling is fast becoming a hot topic for discussion amongst Multi-Academy Trusts as they continue to look for ways of creating efficiencies as funding pressures continue. Lord Agnew is also a big advocate.
Although GAG pooling has been permitted since 2013, the vast majority of trusts tend to top slice. But top slicing is becoming harder as trusts battle against balancing their central trust budgets. Some trusts have been considering increasing to a 10% top slice – but will this be attractive when it comes to new schools joining the trust in the future?
There many factors to consider before entering into GAG pooling as it is a significant change in culture and approach. Therefore, trusts considering this option should take their time and look to introduce GAG pooling via a step process.
Trusts must also consider what their approach is going to be towards growth. GAG pooling, to many schools looking to join a trust, may seem an unattractive proposition as they will see this as the trust “taking their funds”. But if the trust is looking to expand by taking on schools that have little choice or room for negotiation, then GAG pooling does make sense.
At Kreston Reeves we have recently produced a factsheet on the concept of GAG pooling to assist those multi-academy trusts looking to implement this relatively new proposition. Our factsheet looks at the following:
- exploring the issues around the significant culture change trusts will look to overcome
- what funding can be included when pooling
- the step process to take to introduce pooling
- a map of how the funding process works
- the positives and negatives of GAG pooling