A lot of groups have sprung up to take the role of Local Authorities in running groups of schools. If you look at the 'Meet the Team' page of this group you can see that many used to work for LAs. That is neither good nor bad. Depends on the individuals, but remember that these people were probably used to high salaries, so you need to ask whether the money that they wish to pay themselves for allowing your school into their club could be better spent by the school itself. Is an academy sponsor, actually a 'sponsor' i.e. giving money to schools, or are they an overhead on schools budgets. I think you will find that very few of them will bring any money to the arrangement. Your school will pay to be part of their group. The other question to ask is who makes the decisions? Is the academy 'sponsor' there to provide services to schools to support their economies of scale or are they there to run the schools. I think you will find that it will be the latter. Many heads may not realise that they may no longer be in full control of their school once they join an academy chain.