Kreston Academies Benchmark Report 2021

Welcome to the Kreston Academies Benchmark Report 2021

Published 28 January 2021

The ninth annual report includes over 300 Trusts representing nearly 1,400 schools and reflects on a unique year for the sector.

Chris Beaumont, Partner, is one of the authors of the report and has worked with academies for over 16 years.

The Clive Owen LLP academies team act for over 100 educational establishments, including converter and sponsored academies, free, independent schools and University Technical Colleges (UTC)

For the second year, the report not only provides benchmark analysis data for primary and secondary academies and multi – academy trusts but it also provides regionalised data.

You can read this information on page 45 of the report. It again shows significant disparity in the average funding per pupil at Multi-Academy trusts across the regions with the North East region being the lowest in the country.


Download the 2021 Kreston Academies Benchmark Report here.

Watch the highlights of the report presented by Chris Beaumont, Partner and Kevin Shotton, Partner below.

The report demonstrates that the education sector has shown immense resilience and has risen to the challenge of partial and full lockdowns whilst coping with ongoing uncertainties around exams, free school meals, deep cleans and many other operational changes.

On the surface the financial position shows that Trusts have managed to control their budgets, resulting in surpluses across the sector. But if we dig deeper, we can see that it is not that simple.

The movements in income and expenditure are complex, with reductions in other income and savings on certain costs such as supply staff. We are also mindful of the difficult period since August 2020 and would expect to see a strain on the finances within the sector with further lockdowns. The most significant surpluses have been recorded by secondary schools at an average of £144,000, due to them being ‘closed’ for longer than primary schools, which have in turn reported average surpluses of £25,000. MATs are heavily biased towards primary schools and have also been affected by the loss in other income, albeit managing to also make significant savings, and have reported average surpluses of £221,000.

The sector has invested heavily in IT and our clients tell us that there will be further significant investment by Trusts themselves, in addition to the commitment from the DfE to issue laptops to support disadvantaged pupils.

The growth of the sector has slowed, with 7.8% growth in 2020, compared to 10.8% growth in 2019 and 14.1% in 2018. Centralised Trusts have grown whilst decentralised Trusts have got smaller. There has also been a fall in rebrokerage, indicating that perhaps the sector has been occupied by more operational matters.


Here are some further statistics from the report.

  • The percentage of trusts in cumulative deficit has fallen from 8% to 5% over the last year.
  • Nearly 60% of trusts submitted claims for additional funding for the 2019/20 academic year.
  • 67% of trusts with at least 8 schools had 1 or more schools in an individual deficit position.
  • When compared, the percentage of trusts with 4 or fewer schools that had 1 or more schools in deficit was 29%.
  • The growth of MATs has occurred primarily in the most centralised trusts. As at December 2020, there were a total of 9,399 academies compared to 8,721 in December 2019. The annual

rate of growth has however slowed, from 10.8% in the year to December 2019, down to 7.8% to December 2020.



Decision making during the pandemic has been challenging, with MATs having the opportunity to demonstrate their strength in dealing with the daily changes in guidance.

The strongest Trusts will continue to lead the sector by sharing best practice across all areas of operation. It will be crucial that Trusts can approve budgets that enable them to be agile, to cope with the constantly changing demands on the sector. We believe the data in this report will help Trusts with that difficult task.


Download your Kreston Academies Report 2021 here.

Watch the highlights of the report presented by Chris Beaumont, Partner and Kevin Shotton, Partner below.

If you would like a hard copy of the report posting out to you, please fill in the GET IN TOUCH contact form on the right-hand side of this page and don’t forget to give us your postal address.

What do our clients have to say about us? See our Education testimonials here!


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