Academies Enterprise Trust (AET)

The AET aims to provide the opportunity for all young learners to fulfil their real potential, broaden their horizons and become active, prosperous and successful citizens in the world around them. The AET believes that all young people deserve to become world class learners - to learn, enjoy, succeed and thrive in a first rate educational environment, with the best facilities, the best teaching and the most up to date resources available to them.

The AET is committed to doing everything it can to ensure that young people are able to, in the future, compete on the world stage with the skills, confidence and flair to generate new ideas, new initiatives and thereby make a full contribution to tomorrow's world.

What is an Academy?

An Academy is a publicly funded independent school which strives to provide a first class free education for all its students.

It may be sponsored by organisations from a wide range of backgrounds, such as high performing schools and colleges, universities, individual philanthropists, businesses, public agencies and the voluntary sector.

It aims to provide a teaching and learning environment that is in line with the best in the maintained (local authority) sector and offer a broad and balanced curriculum to students of all abilities, focussing on one or more specialisms.

Academies work in different ways from other schools, and are accountable to the Department for Education (DfE) through a Funding Agreement, which is a legally binding contract between the DfE and the Academy sponsor.

The Funding Agreement specifies how the Academy will be run, what its responsibilities will be and what powers the Secretary of State at the DfE will have. It requires the Governing Body to publish procedures of its meetings. As a charitable trust, the Academies Enterprise Trust must also prepare and file annual accounts with the Charity Commission, prepare an annual report for the Charity Commissioners and ensure that their accounts are independently audited.

All Academies must have regard to the same School Admissions Code, SEN (Special Educational Needs) Code of Practice and exclusions guidance as all other state-funded schools. They are also required to follow the National Curriculum programmes of studies in English, Maths, Science and ICT. Academies are inspected by Ofsted in the same way as maintained schools.

More details about the Academies Enterprise Trust, including contact details can be found here.

Questions and Answers

Some Academies have no union representation – what is the AET position on unions?

The AET recognises the following trade unions for individual and collective representation, consultation and negotiation purposes. In Essex the AET has a formal agreement with them: the teacher unions (ACSL, ATL, NASUWT and NUT) and the unions representing support and other professional school staff (GMB, UNISON and Unite).

What about the funding?

Funding is certainly a crucial part of the process. Academies are funded at the same rate as other state schools. However, there are a number of economies of scale that the sponsors can take advantage of in functions previously delivered by other organisations, such as finance, human resources, facilities management and teacher training. This releases additional money which is passed on to the Academy.

If it all goes wrong, who will be held accountable?

It is the Academies Enterprise Trust, the operational division of the sponsor, who will be held responsible to the Department for Education (DfE.) In the past, if schools were failing it was the responsibility of the Local Authority to step in and take action. Day to day responsibility for the Academy will, however, remain with the Executive Principal and Headteacher.