Academy sponsors are required to support and improve under-performing schools of all kinds.

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

A sponsor can be a:

  • successful school

  • further education colleges

  • sixth-form colleges

  • chain of academies

  • businesses

  • universities

  • charities

  • faith communities

  • entrepreneurs and philanthropists

  • educational foundations.

A sponsor works with an academy through an academy trust, which has the power to appoint the Head and the board of governors. Sponsors are held accountable for raising standards in under-performing 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 a sponsor doesn’t comply with their responsibilities, the Secretary of State for Education can remove their status.

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