Annal Nayyar outlines the new DFE Academies risk protection arrangement (RPA)

Information about the Department for Education’s risk protection arrangement (RPA) for academy trusts.


  1. Cover included in the RPA
  2. Cover not included in the RPA
  3. Risk management
  4. Funding the RPA
  5. Opting into the RPA
  6. Making a claim under the RPA
  7. Private Finance Initiative (PFI) academy trusts
  8. Contact us
  9. See more like this

Education Funding Agency wrote a letter to academies outlining a voluntary risk pooling scheme for academies and free schools to come into effect from 1 September 2014. This letter was sent on 14 February 2014.

This is now re-named the risk protection arrangement (RPA) to provide clarity to academies that the RPA is not an insurance scheme but is a mechanism through which the cost of risks that materialise from 1 September 2014 will be covered by government funds. As academy trusts are classified as public bodies, this enables us to meet the cost of losses that arise.

All academy trusts and multi-academy trusts can opt in to the Department for Education’s risk protection arrangement. This includes free schools, faith schools that are academies, special academies, alternative provision academies, UTCs, studio schools and Private Finance Initiative (PFI) academy trusts.

The detailed rules for the RPA will be added to this guide.



Cover included in the RPA

The RPA will reimburse academies in the event of a loss outlined in the ‘Academies risk protection arrangement scope’ document Academies risk protection arrangement scope (PDF, 103KB, 5 pages) . These losses include:

  • loss or damage to property (including minor works)
  • increased cost of working following damage to property
  • legal liability to pay compensation to employees for death or injury due to employment with the academy (including as a result of exposure to asbestos)
  • legal liability to pay compensation to third parties for death, injury or property damage (including as a result of abuse or exposure to asbestos)
  • loss of money and personal baggage whilst travelling on academy business in the UK
  • loss of academy property due to employee dishonesty

Cover not included in the RPA

The RPA will not cover risks related to motor, overseas travel, statutory engineering inspections and works of art. The Department will provide a route to the commercial insurance market to purchase additional cover to manage these risks. Academies can also choose to use other commercial insurance suppliers.

Risk management

It is important that academy trusts continue to manage their risks effectively. The DfE will provide a comprehensive risk management package which will provide you with access to risk management training, an on-line risk assessment tool and independent risk assessment surveys. More details will be available before the arrangement starts.

To incentivise effective risk management academy trusts will be required to meet an element of cost per claim which is outlined in the document Academies risk protection arrangement scope (PDF, 103KB, 5 pages) .

Funding the RPA

There is no cost or premium to join the RPA. £25 per pupil (per place in special and AP academies) will be deducted from an academy’s general annual grant (GAG) by EFA for the first 2 years of the RPA.

Academies that pay less than £25 per pupil for insurance but are interested in opting in to the RPA should contact the DfE commercial team.

Opting into the RPA

If an academy’s current insurance arrangements are due for renewal before 1 September 2014, you can either enter into a new contract up until 31 August 2014 or renew for a 12-month period and then opt in to the RPA.

Academies need to provide as much notice as possible before opting into the RPA and must not have a period when they are not covered by commercial insurance and have not joined the RPA. The table below gives dates when academies should opt in to ensure they are part of the risk protection arrangement.

Month of opt in

Month included in the RPA

Funding adjusted from

By 30 June 2014 1 September 2014 1 September 2014
By 31 August 2014 1 September 2014 1 November 2014
By 30 September 2014 1 October 2014 1 November 2014
By 31 October 2014 1 November 2014 1 December 2014
By 30 November 2014 1 December 2014 1 January 2015

Academy trusts are able to opt in to the RPA using an online form and must supply the school’s unique reference number (URN) and the month they want the RPA arrangement to start.

The online form is the same form used by academies to claim their 2014 to 2015 financial year national non-domestic rates (NNDR) funding. Academies can carry out either process separately or both together. Once academies have opted in, adjustments will be made to their 2014 to 2015 funding allocation and back dated to the date they were included in the RPA.

Academies only need to opt in to the RPA once and will automatically be included in subsequent years. A reminder about the RPA will be issued with an academy’s funding allocation each year together with instructions about how to opt out of the arrangement.

Making a claim under the RPA

RPA claims will be handled by a third-party claims handling organisation with a dedicated 24-hour telephone service and a secure website for you to access. More information, including the format and frequency of reports of claims handling, will be provided when this becomes available.

Claims made up to and including 31 August 2014 should be referred to your existing insurance company.

Private Finance Initiative (PFI) academy trusts

Academy trusts that are part of a PFI scheme may be legally required to take out specific commercial insurance as part of their PFI contract and will need to discuss the details of the PFI contract with us.


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