School Finance Spring Conference 2023

With lots of inspiring keynotes, thoughtful discussion, and a brand new venue, the School Finance Spring Conference 2023 was a great success. We hope delegates found the event insightful and look forward to welcoming you to the next one. Read ahead to get a taste for the experience.
Spring Conference 2023
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Last week, we were delighted to meet with school business managers, finance officers and headteachers as we came together for the School Finance Spring Conference 2023. Bringing together experts across the education funding landscape, it was set to be a truly engaging and thought-provoking day.

This term, we were also very excited to welcome colleagues to a brand new venue at the FC United of Manchester football stadium. With fantastic views over the pitch, this made a wonderful backdrop to our event. A great space for delegates to network with like-minded professionals and presenters, we heard lots of exciting discussions taking place throughout the day.

Welcome & Introduction

Before we began, our Head of School Finance, Petra Pratt, warmly welcomed us to the conference and thanked everyone for making the journey despite the snow! In these challenging times, as many schools continue to struggle with financial pressures, it’s important for education professionals to take the time to learn, share and grow in practice together. At One Education, we are proud to support our colleagues in schools, combining our collective expertise to create better opportunities for children and young people.

Year End 2022/23 and Budget Planning 2023/24

First, we heard from the School Finance team, who delivered Year End 2022/23 reminders for schools in Manchester and Trafford, as well as approaching deadlines for the submission of documents. We looked at key dates and next steps for Budget Planning 2023/24, with a reminder to prepare for shifting pay scales of school support staff. We also reflected on the growing trend of academisation and the broader implications for the sector. With so much to consider, the team shared upcoming training dates for FMS6 and Access Budgeting, supporting staff with all-important budget planning and day to day financial management.

ICT & Internet Safety

Next, we heard from One Education’s Vince Slatford and Jonathon Gandy, who focused on strengthening our cybersecurity and safeguarding in school. We learned about all the risks facing us in education, from data breaches and malware, through to harmful content and cyberbullying. There are many ways schools can stay prepared for a cybersecurity incident, including internet filtering and firewall; antivirus; encryption; backup solutions and more. To help educators update their ICT infrastructure, we considered potential funding schemes such as the DfE Connect the Classroom programme. But ultimately, the key to internet safety and cybersecurity is raising awareness through regular training, policy updates and user education.

Compliance Without Compromise

Casserly Property Management works with schools and trusts, offering a fully transparent and proactive approach to statutory compliance and facilities management. In their presentation, we heard about the steps schools can take to ensure they are compliant with current legislation. Casserly Property Management can support schools in a range of areas, such as Health & Safety audits and Reactive services. In partnership with Earl Kendrick building surveyors, they also provide surveying services, including technical advice, funding bids and contract administration. Crucially, we learned how schools can apply to the Condition Improvement Fund (CIF) and Urgent Capital Support (UCS), which can help schools to optimise the learning environment by improving windows, roofs, fire-safety, energy efficiency and more.

Easyfundraising for Schools

As the sector continues to grapple with school funding challenges, we were happy to discover that schools can sign up to Easyfundraising, the UK’s largest charity shopping site. In partnership with over 7,000 brands, Easyfundraising allows customers to donate to a cause of their choice when shopping online – without any extra cost! When registering, schools can create a profile to explain what funds will be used for, whether it’s a brand new library or an exciting school trip. Plus, Easyfundraising provides lots of marketing resources to help schools spread the word and get the whole community involved. At a time when many schools are considering cuts, it’s great to learn there are ways to raise money and continue investing in our children’s futures.

MCC School Finance & MCC Audit

Finally, Manchester City Council delivered important updates to the dedicated schools grant (DSG), high needs funding and the supplementary schools grant. In particular, we learned there is an emphasis on improving Early Years funding to support early interventions, ensuring children’s needs are met before they escalate into long-term problems. Additionally, we were reminded of the ways schools can respond to rising costs, including renegotiation, income generation, and collaboration with other schools. MCC also reflected on the key trends in recent School Financial Health Checks, including the importance of purchasing compliance, separation of duties, and the ongoing transition to a cashless system.


As the conference drew to a close, we took the chance to catch up with colleagues over a fabulous lunch. It was great to see so many familiar faces and also meet some new ones! We look forward to seeing you all again soon.

A huge thanks to all our keynote speakers; we gained so much from all their inspiration and expertise. Most importantly, we learned the importance of working together, both within our own school communities and across the broader education landscape.

We hope that practitioners left with lots of fresh insights and ideas to take back to school. We are delighted to have received some brilliant feedback so far, and we will make sure to take your thoughts into account when designing opportunities for the future.

For more School Finance support, get in touch to discuss your requirements and find out how we can help.

Remember to take a look at our training and conferences page to see what other events we have in store.

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