Top-slicing vs GAG pooling in multi-academy trusts (MATs)
Understand what it means for your trust to top-slice or GAG pool your budget, so you feel more confident in monitoring finances. Find out what questions to ask as a trustee or local governor if this is being introduced in your trust.
What’s the difference?
This is when a trust collects a proportion of each school’s budget, or general annual grant (GAG), to fund central services. The schools within the trust keep most of their own GAG funding.
Some trusts set a flat rate contribution, and some have a variable top-slice. For example:
- Coast Academies varies its top-slice based on level of need and size of the school. It's within the range of 3-5% of the annual GAG (see the question 'How are central services paid for?’)
- EPAT retains a top-slice based on the schools' Ofsted grade and performance data to reflect their level of need. As reflected in its central funds policy (which you can download here), this will amount to between 3 and 6%
This is when the trust holds each school’s GAG centrally, and delegates smaller amounts of funding that each school controls.