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.

Last reviewed on 10 November 2022
School types: All · School phases: All
Ref: 31322
  1. What’s the difference?
  2. Trusts use this funding to meet central costs
  3. What are the rules?
  4. Questions to ask your trust leaders

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:

  • 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%
  • The Staffordshire Schools Multi Academy Trust calculates its top-slice by pupil numbers, so smaller schools pay less. It's within the range of 5-7% of the annual GAG (see the 'central team services and trust finances' section on page 11 of the document)

This is when the trust holds each school’s GAG centrally, and delegates smaller amounts of funding that each school