The Property Aspects of Academy Conversion

Property transfer

As part of the conversion process, it is recommended for schools to gain advice from solicitors about the transfer of property to their academy trust. How this works in practice will depend on the category of the existing school.

As a general rule, for community schools, where property is currently owned by the local authority, the school will be granted a new lease.

Where the school is a foundation school, there will be a freehold transfer from the governing body to the academy trust. For a foundation school with a foundation, agreement will need to be reached with the foundation which may decide to grant a lease of the land to the academy trust.

For voluntary aided and in some cases voluntary controlled schools, the Diocese is likely to enter in to a Supplemental Agreement for the use of the property owned by the Diocesan Board or Parochial Church Council. Some of the school site (often the playing field) may also be owned by the local authority and in these cases the schools solicitors would also expect to put in place a lease.

 Leases

In most cases where the local authority is the landowner, there will be a new lease to the academy trust the terms of which are briefly summarised as follows:

Property matters

Schools and the owners of the school site will need to work with their solicitors to deal with the following matters:

Land questionnaire

The Department for Education requires a land questionnaire to be submitted as part of the conversion process. The school’s solicitors can complete this questionnaire on the school’s behalf and also discuss with the school whether they require searches to be carried out on the school site (for example, local authority and environmental searches). If so, the solicitors will provide the school with a report on the results of these searches.

To discuss any property aspects further in relation to academy conversion, please contact me.