Number of closing academy trusts quadruples

More than 90 trusts had a 'material uncertainty to continue as a going concern' due to 'financial issues'

Martin George

closing, closed, academies, academy trusts, MATs, accounts, auditors, opinions

The number of academy trusts that are closing has almost quadrupled in the space of a year, Department for Education data shows.

In 2016-17, 82 sets of financial accounts for academy trusts were produced on a “non-going concern basis”, because they were due to close.

According to the Consolidate Annual Report and Accounts for the academy sector, this represented 2.7 per cent of all academy trust accounts.

In the previous year, only 21 sets of accounts were produced on the same basis, representing just 0.7 per cent of the sector.

The report says this increase is due to "trusts closing following re-brokerage and reflects the current mobility within the sector”.

Academy trusts' 'financial issues'

Trusts whose accounts received this audit opinion include Wakefield City Academies Trust, whose collapse last year was surrounded by controversy about its finances and educational standards.

The Consolidated Annual Report and Accounts also show that 93 sets of accounts had a “material uncertainty to continue as a going concern” due to “financial issues”.

This compared with 89 in 2015-16; in both years this represented 3 per cent of all academy trust accounts.

In both years, 46 sets of accounts received a qualified opinion from their independent auditors.

The report says these were “largely due” to issues about the land and buildings, failure to disclose the pay of trustees, and the actuarial valuation of the local government pension scheme.

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