An academy sponsor is an organisation or person who has received approval from the Department for Education (DfE) to support an underperforming academy or group of academies.

The regional schools commissioners (RSCs) aim to match sponsors with schools in the sponsor’s local area.

A sponsor works with an academy through an academy trust, which is the charitable company that run the academy or group of academies. It has the power to appoint the Head and the board of governors. Sponsors are held accountable for raising standards in underperforming schools. This is achieved by providing effective governance, strategic leadership, a clear vision and a combination of support and challenge to ensure the vision is translated into reality. To support the sponsor, the DfE has a number of funds that the sponsor/trust can apply for.

If sponsors don’t comply with their responsibilities, the Secretary of State for Education can remove their status.

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