Welcome back from your School Finance team
Welcome back to the start of a fresh academic year! We hope that you have all enjoyed your summer break and are raring to go for the challenges ahead.
Last academic year saw a rollercoaster ride in terms of budget planning. In preparation for the new National Funding Formula, schools were planning for the anticipated reduction in funding that they would receive. With the impact of these proposed cuts threatening the quality of children’s education, school leaders had to look at ways to stretch their reduced budgets, with many reducing staffing levels, the curriculum choice offered, or asking parents for contributions towards the cost of their child’s education.
The introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy put some schools under even more financial pressure due to the additional costs that the levy imposes, with maintained LA schools in particular being hit the hardest.
On 17 July 2017, Education Secretary, Justine Greening, announced an additional £1.3bn investment in school funding over the next two years. Ms Greening stated that this would mean the total schools’ budget would increase by £2.6 billion between 2017 and 2019-20, and per pupil funding would now be maintained in real terms for the remaining two years of the spending review period to 2019-20. Spending plans for the years beyond 2019-20 will be set out in a future spending review.
Reviewing your school’s financial position
It is important that we spend some time reflecting on last year and looking at how we can develop and improve our offer to schools. As schools are still in the process of planning or converting to academy status, we have developed and enhanced our support services available to academies. We have also had some really positive feedback to our newly introduced HCSS Budgeting training and our team endeavour to continue developing and delivering quality training to meet the growing demands on school staff.
Financial management of your school budget for the current and future years still remains a key priority. Period 6 monitoring is fast approaching, which marks an ideal opportunity at the halfway point of the financial year to review your school’s financial position. Our team of School Budget Officers are on hand to provide any support you may need, and current customers will soon be receiving their helpful reminders to aid them with preparing this information.
Staying on top of your professional development
Autumn term is always an extremely busy time for schools, with a new intake of pupils, autumn census and period 6 monitoring amongst many other priorities; it can be a very challenging time. It is important that we ensure the financial management/administration skills of new and current staff remain fresh, so that budgets are reliable and financial data is sound. This information being up-to-date and accurate is key to governors and the senior leadership team in ensuring they can make the best possible decisions for your school.
It is important to remember that it’s not just new staff who require professional development, but experienced staff too, who may require some refresher training or wish to enhance their skills in the fast paced and ever-changing school environment. It is a worthwhile investment to use the money in the Apprenticeship Levy Digital Account to fund relevant approved training for staff where possible.
Support moving forward
September is a time of new beginnings; a new academic year, a new financial year for academies, and new members of staff beginning their journey with you. You may have new finance staff in need of additional training or support, or a transition period between one member of staff leaving and the new staff member starting.
Whatever support you require, our School Finance team has a wealth of knowledge and expertise in all aspects of school and academy finance and is able to provide transition assistance during staff changes, organise bespoke support and provide detailed handovers to maintain continuity.
If you would like any additional information please contact our School Finance Team by calling 0844 967 1111 or fill out the form below. We are happy to talk through any queries you may have or can arrange a visit to your school if this is more convenient.