For many November is a time for reflection. This is also true with Academy Finances, as the final adjustments are made by auditors across the land. Academies also need to look forward. Those looking to apply for capital funds have until 19 December and all need to think about how the reduction of the ESG will impact upon future school budgets.
Opportunity at Schools Business Services
The Finance Team at School Business Services is looking to expand its team in the South West – if you are looking for a career change, why not consider working with us.
From EFA Planner
Our monthly reminder of actions in the EFA Business Planner. There are no actions for Academies, but the EFA will:
- Shares with academies their local authority’s draft funding pro-forma for 2015 to 2016
- Requests estimated pupil numbers and possible additional information to inform the 2015 to 2016 allocations process from a small group of academies on estimates
- Pays first of 2 primary PE and sport grant payment for academic year 2014 to 2015
- Pays second of 2 payments for 2014 to 2015 summer schools
Full details at – https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/efa-business-cycle
Whilst there are no actions in the EFA Planner, new Academies are reminded that:
- The land & building valuation form should have been submitted to the EFA (within 6 weeks of opening)
- The budget forecast should be submitted within 6 weeks of the final funding letter – those that opened 1 September will have received this letter around 1 October
- Academies with a sponsor should finalise closing balances with the local authority within 3 months
- All should submit the governance self-assessment (FMGS) within 4 months.
Condition Improvement Fund
Education Funding Agency (EFA) has published summary information on the Condition Improvement Fund (CIF) for 2015 to 2016, setting out the eligibility criteria and the key features of the fund. The CIF replaces the Academies Capital Maintenance Fund (ACMF) and the Building Condition Improvement Fund (BCIF).
Most CIF funding will be awarded to projects that address building condition issues including refurbishing or renewing roofs, windows or toilet areas and/or compliance issues such as fire protection systems, electrical upgrades or asbestos removal. A small proportion of the fund will be for projects supporting schools and colleges that need to expand their existing facilities and floor space to accommodate more pupils within their existing age range or address overcrowding or a lack of specialist facilities.
An online application for CIF will open by 20 November. The deadline for applications is 3pm on 19 December 2014. Successful projects will be announced in March 2015. EFA will not run a second round of the Condition Improvement Fund for 2015 to 2016.
There will be an EFA webinar to support Academies considering this fund.
Full details at https://www.gov.uk/condition-improvement-fund
Insurance Top Up
The new top-up insurance claim form for the 2014 to 2015 academic year has been launched. It will enable academies to claim top-up funding for insurance costs when those costs exceed funding provided in the general annual grant (GAG).
The online return requires data such as current insurance costs and the number of students in order to assess eligibility. It also provides details about when you will receive your funding or if further information is required to process a claim.
Full details at https://www.gov.uk/academies-funding-claims
This web page also set out details on how to claim support for National Non Domestic Rates.
Earlier in the year a previously ‘good’ school received a no-notice inspection as its website was not compliant with the statutory requirements to provide parents with detailed information on the school’s curriculum. There are many other areas of information that schools and academies need to share with parents and others on their websites – is you website compliant?
The following website will help you: http://www.clerktogovernors.co.uk/your-school-website/ . There are a number of areas highlighted where compliance may fail, and useful checklists to help you.
August Accounts Return
In its weekly E-Bulletin the EFA advised it has published an updated version of the August Accounts Return. When you come to complete the return make sure you are working with the latest guidance – and not a copy you downloaded a couple of months ago!
Don’t forget that the EFA have and will deliver a number of webinars to help Academies complete their returns.
The next webinar is Capital Funding – Condition Improvement Fund on 17 November 2014 2pm (see note above). Recording of previous webinars are also available.
Further details at: https://registration.livegroup.co.uk/efa/