Local authorities (LA) have a legal duty to provide sufficient places for pupils in its area. They manage this through an agreed budget with set distribution criteria.
Funding should be available to support basic need growth, and LAs manage this through a budget with an agreed set of distribution criteria.
If the growth in pupil numbers is due to basic need, then the academy or trust should seek funding from the LA, and this should be paid direct by the LA to the academy.
This guidance does not apply to academies that are funded based on estimates.
If an academy is growing due to popularity, the academy must manage growth through robust financial planning. If an academy finds itself in exceptional circumstances with significant growth in any one year that puts it in financial difficulty, it can make a case to the ESFA for additional funding.
This will be considered by a Minister but there is no guarantee of additional funds.
School census returns
As the academy is census funded, any growth in pupil numbers following the October school census return should be included in the next year’s October school census, and these additional pupils will be funded in the following academic year.
This responsibility covers all academies and free schools (excluding non-recoupment academies, when the LA does not receive funding for these institutions).
Further guidance for Financial support for academy trusts in financial difficulty is available on GOV.UK.
If you have a specific query about funding or census, please include any relevant information in your query through our enquiry form.