Academies Benchmark Report 2019 – released

Published by Peter Manser on 31 January 2019

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We are delighted to announce the release of Kreston UK’s 2019 Academies Benchmark Report. To request your complimentary copy of the report, please complete the form at the bottom of this page.

Our Academies Benchmark Report 2019 is based on those Academies that prepared financial statements for the period ended 31 August 2018 and which were audited by member firms of Kreston UK.

This year the report includes over 350 Trusts representing nearly 1000 schools. There are more Multi Academy Trusts than ever before and they continue to grow, with more schools and more income.

The report found in comparison to last year the picture has improved for academies. The sector has seen deficits falling significantly but academies cannot rest on their laurels. The longer-term picture is still challenging and the ability of Trusts to effectively plan is continually restricted by the landscape of uncertainty.

Key highlights from the Academies Benchmark Report include:

  • Trusts continue to show deficits with 50% showing an in-year deficit before depreciation for year ended 31 August 2018 which is slightly reduced from the 55% in 2017.
  • Staff costs have remained steady at 72% of total costs.
  • Income per pupil has remained relatively consistent with more than 95% coming from central and local government.
  • Larger, more centralised MATs are operating more efficiently, which suggest economies of scale are being realised.

Kreston Reeves is one of the leading members of the Kreston UK Academies Group which is a network of independent accounting and business advisory firms in the UK that share a common interest and specialisation in the academies and education sector.

Peter Manser, Head of Academies and Education at Kreston Reeves comments; “We commend the work academies have made in delivering savings but the Benchmark Report offers a warning that further spending reductions will be hard to achieve, and Trusts cannot rely on their reserves forever. They will run out in 5 to 6 years without any changes.

Academies are struggling against a tide of financial uncertainty, as pressure mounts to balance the books. The ability of Trusts to effectively plan is severely restricted by this landscape of uncertainty.

Our benchmarking report will assist anyone who wants to understand more about how their Academy Trust is performing. The group is passionate about the academy sector and hope that the contents of this year’s report helps you to improve your academy trust”.

Peter Manser, a specialist in Academies and Education at Kreston Reeves, added; “Against a backdrop of financial uncertainty and reducing budgets nationwide, it is difficult for academies to guarantee like-for-like education models in the long term. With more uncertainty on the horizon it is difficult to know how long this improved position will last. Many ‘easy savings’ have already been made which leaves staff as the obvious final reductions. We are already seeing reductions in learning support assistants, and staff contact ratios will be increased to save costs. This means teachers spend longer in the classroom so, in theory, schools wouldn’t need as many teachers. There have been several years of cost cutting and the Trusts that we work with are telling us that there are no more areas where they can save significant costs without impacting on the way in which education is provided.

The added uncertainty around teacher recruitment and retention is also proving a challenge with schools continuing to fill gaps with agency support staff. This can be a costly exercise but it would appear that locally MATs are achieving better economies of scale on this front than single schools thanks to their bargaining power.”

We are also able to offer a personalised Benchmarking service incorporating the results of your Academy, and if you would be interested in learning more please contact

A newer version of the Academies Benchmark Report is now available, which can be found here. If you are interested in seeing previous versions of the report, please contact specifying which previous version(s) you’re seeking.

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