Whilst many academies and schools have finished, with pupils enjoying the summer weather, there are still a few things for School Business Managers to tidy up before they head off on holiday. In this weeks blog we consider these areas.
Returns & Forecasts
The deadline for most academies to complete their budget forecast is 31 July 2014. Those that opened after 31 March 2014 will have either 6 weeks from receiving their funding letter or 31 July if later. The EFA have launched a new on line form for budget forecasts, which should reduce errors and the needs to request additional information. Visit https://form.education.gov.uk/fillform.php?self=1&form_id=VB6zixvnCHb&1
Those academies that completed a March Accounts Return may be contacted by Deloitte who are applying validation checks to the data submitted. If you have been approached, please provide the requested information before you hit the beach!
As one return is completed, the EFA release guidance on the next. Guidance on the Accounts Return and Benchmarking Return for the year ending 31 August 3014 has now been published by the EFA. The Accounts Return must be submitted by 31 January 2015. Visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/academies-august-accounts-return-template-and-guide
Data for the return will come largely from audited accounts. EFA guidance on the preparation of audited accounts was published a few weeks ago. Audited accounts, along with the audit letter must be submitted to the EFA by 31 December 2014.Visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/academies-accounts-direction
31 December is also the deadline for your Best Value Statement. Visit (Guidance dated August 2013): https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/academies-value-for-money-statement
It is recommended that you discuss with your Auditor the timetable for the Autumn now, so that you meet all of the EFA’s deadlines.
Those requiring further guidance should review the narrated presentations provided by the EFA. Visit: https://registration.livegroup.co.uk/academyfinance/presentations/
Schools Performance Data
The EFA have published academy trust financial statements for the period to 31 August 2013 and value for money statements on the Schools Performance Website. Check out your own details or those of similar schools; visit: http://www.education.gov.uk/schools/performance/
What are your Future Plans
How far are you planning into the future?
The number of pupils in England’s schools is expected to reach its highest level in almost half a century by 2023, as the number of schoolchildren is estimated to top eight million in the next nine years. There will be an estimated 4.6 million pupils in state primary schools, 9% higher than in 2014. Secondary pupil numbers are expected to start rising from 2016 – from 2.7 million to 3.2 million in 2023.
The new data comes amid a continuing concern about a squeeze on school places, particularly for primary-age children. Last year, a study by the National Audit Office (NAO) warned an estimated extra 256,00 0 primary and secondary school places would be needed by September 2014. Of these, 240,000 are required in primary schools, with more than a third (37%) needed in London alone.
Academies have greater autonomy on how they meet the challenges that face them. The DfE have recently published a report on how academies have used their increased autonomy. The report says that two thirds of academies believe that the changes they have made have improved attainment. Increased collaboration, changes to the curriculum and school leadership were felt to have led to the biggest improvements in academies. For the full report visit : https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/do-academies-make-use-of-their-autonomy
The surprise departure of Michael Gove from Education last week has caused many to speculate about the future. Will future change be different from what is planned?
So what did the new minister, Nicky Morgan, have to say in Parliament? In response to a question about whether her predecessor was radical enough Morgan confirmed her commitment to carry on the work of Michael Gove by expanding free schools, supporting unqualified teachers and keeping changes to the exam system.
Morgan stated: “It’s always very exciting to be tempted and asked to be more radical. Absolutely. I am undimmed in my commitment to free schools and look forward to working with him [MP who raised question] and members on all sides in getting more free schools up and running.”
In these blogs we often refer you to the EFA business cycle. But, there are no tasks for Academies in the planner for August! Enjoy your holiday.