January Update


As academies struggled to submit their AAR by the January deadline here is some news you may have missed.

Academy Accounts Return

As extensively reported, Peter Lauener has written to all academies postponing the deadline for the Academies Accounts Return (AAR) until Tuesday 28th February. If academies continue to have issues they should first consult the Gov.UK website, and if they still have an issue email academies.questions@education.gov.uk.

Another Return

Hidden in announcements before Christmas, the EFA revealed that for 2017 all academy trusts are expected to produce two Budget Forecast Returns. The first will be in the spring, with the second coming in the autumn. In previous years a single forecast needed to be submitted by 31 July.

Following earlier criticisms from the National Audit Office, this change is part of the move to a new academies sector annual report and accounts which has been agreed with the HM Treasury and Parliament. No further details such as the level of data collection and submission deadlines are available at present but the EFA have said they will do their best to minimise the additional effort needed.

National Funding Formula

The debate on the National Funding Formula (NFF) is gathering pace. Many commentators have used both the National Audit Offices report on the additional costs schools face and the DfE consultation on the NFF, and drawn the conclusion that most schools will have less funding as a result of the introduction.

Whilst both issues are important, DfE consultation is about “how we slice the pie (the funding available) not the size of the pie”.

The following links may be of interest:

To see how your school might be affected – see School Cuts

Financial Health & Efficiency

Schools & academies are reminded of the support the EFA provides schools to improve financial health and efficiency. Further materials have recently been published, including case studies on how savings have been made through governance reforms and staffing re-structures. For full details click here.

In a similar vein, NASBM have also published a case study from one of its members to help the wider community. Click here.

Technical Education

The Prime Minister has set out plans for greater state intervention in the economy. Included in the pillars to support this strategy there are plans to develop skills in science, technology, engineering and maths.

Mrs May announces that a new system of technical education will be built, benefiting the half of young people who choose not to go to university. It could include maintenance loans, the creation of institutes of technology in every region, and 15 core technical “routes” that equip students with the skills most needed by employers in their area. It is envisaged that new educational institutions will be built, along with other bodies, while some existing establishments will be strengthened.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, business secretary Greg Clarke said this idea was driven by the government’s belief the UK was falling behind nations like China when it comes to technical skills.

Click here for Sky News details

SBS Online 2017/18 National Insurance Calculations

The new 2017/18 National Insurance table is now available to apply to your budgets. From April 2017, the employer’s contribution rate of 13.8% will remain the same, but the thresholds have increased slightly. You are therefore strongly advised to apply the 2017/18 NI table in all of your unfixed budgets to ensure your staff costs […]


Progress 8 and Attainment 8

Progress 8 and Attainment 8 are hot topics right now. Last Thursday, when most schools and academies were running their Census, the DfE published the national performance tables for Key Stages 4 and 5 and for the first time, these measures were published as Attainment 8 and Progress 8 (each on a scale of 1 […]


Spring Census 2017 – COLLECT issue resolved

Further to our blog post yesterday afternoon we can confirm that the DfE have fixed the issue affecting Census file uploads to COLLECT. Please contact us if you require any assistance with your Spring Census or any other SIMS issues, on 0345 222 1551 • Option 3 or email the SIMS Service Desk.


Spring Census 2017 – Issues with COLLECT upload

This post is for all schools and academies who upload their Census files straight to COLLECT. We have been made aware of an issue whereby some authorised files are not uploading and COLLECT is generating the following error: This problem is being encountered by all types of schools and academies nationally. We are currently waiting […]


CES (Catholic Education Service) Census 2017

The CES Census 2017 is this Thursday (19th January) – the same date as the Spring Census for the DfE. The Catholic Education Service has many resources to support schools with this return including a Quick Start guide for SIMS and comprehensive preparation and completion guidance. You will also find the dates for submission based on the diocese that your […]


Academies Accounts Return

Academies having submitted their Annual Report and Accounts to the EFA by the 31 December 2016, will be aware that they must now submit their Academies Accounts Return by 31 January 2017. The EFA has introduced a new process for submitting the annual return (click here for further information). However, the EFA is aware that […]


New Update and Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to all of our customers and best wishes for 2017! The latest SBS Online update contains improvements to Staff Contracts, National Insurance calculations, multi-school KPIs, the default budget process, notes on the Payroll Reconciliation and some minor bug fixes. Salary Adjustment in Staff Contracts Salary details on Staff Contracts now have a […]


Gender pay gap reporting webinar

Gender pay gap reporting webinar We uncovered a useful webinar on gender pay gap reporting by XpertHR which might be of interest to a number of academies and independent schools. The aim of the webinar, which takes place on Wednesday 8 February at 2pm – 3pm, is to help you determine whether or not your organisation […]


Tidy up time

Although Census time allows schools to update a lot of information held in SIMS, the same old data issues often persist (contacts not showing correctly, no little houses, names in upper and lower cases to name but a few). Our School Housekeeping service is designed to ensure that your pupil data is tidy and make it more […]


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