Summer Reading


July is often the month that the ESFA publishes its summer blockbusters, so that business managers in schools and academies have some essential reading for their beach holidays.

Our top five reads for the summer are:

Schools Benchmarking

Maintained schools will have recently received a benchmarking report card, with report cards for academies that submitted financial data for 2015/16 receiving their report cards in the autumn.

All schools and academies can access the financial data held on them by the DfE and run comparisons with similar schools using the updated DfE Benchmarking Tools. You can:

  • View your school’s financial data
  • See how similar schools manage their finances
  • Use the information gathered to establish relationships with other schools

Academies Financial Handbook

The ESFA has this week published the Academies Financial Handbook that will come into force on 1 September 2017. Pages 5 and 6 of the new handbook set out details of the changes from the earlier version.

There are a number of changes relating to governance arrangements, including defining the roles of members and trustees, the obligations of holding office in a public body, the importance of developing trustee and governor competencies and how trusts might improve efficiency. The financial control section reflects the reports the ESFA now requires, and has important considerations on levels of executive pay and approval of novel and contentious transactions.

We recommended that all trusts review their own financial policies and procedures to ensure they reflect the latest AFH.

School Funding Arrangements in 2018 to 2019

The Secretary of State for Education set out the future arrangements for school funding in a speech to Parliament on Monday, 17 July. She confirmed the introduction of a national funding formula for schools and for pupils with high needs from the 2018 to 2019 financial year.

The announcement included a pledge to re-direct £1.3b of the department’s education budget to schools and academies.

Technical Education

Pathways through technical education programmes are likely to be increasingly important, with concerns about a growing skills shortage and the announcement of major infrastructure programmes over the coming years.

Research by the Baker Dearing Trust has revealed that jobs in the STEM sector are almost twice as likely as the national average to be left unfilled, due to a lack of suitably qualified staff. Read their full report, ‘From School Work to Real Work’; and the case they make for greater employer engagement in technical education.

The new T Level qualification, announced by the government will have work placements as an integral part of the programme. A student will not be able to obtain their T level certificate unless they have undertaken a work placement. The work placements are expected to be in an external setting (typically around 3 months) with clearly defined aims and objectives. The work placement will need to be occupationally specific to ensure young people secure the workplace behaviours and the technical skills relevant to the occupation that they are studying towards.

To support the new T Level qualifications the government has announced a £50 million investment from April 2018 to fund high quality work placements to help prepare young people for skilled work.  This funding will be available to providers currently delivering the technical programmes that are expected to evolve over time to T levels. After the summer, the DfE will announce which providers will be eligible for this funding.

Top Summer Read

Of course our top summer read is the School Business Services Blog – a handy way to keep up to date with all the news affecting business managers. And as you’ve read this one – that’s 20% of the reading list completed already. Well done!

If you have any questions regarding any of the above please speak the Finance Service Desk on 0345 222 1551 • Option 2

July Shorts

July Shorts

There have been a number of announcements these last few weeks – so here is your one stop source to all the information you need.


Dear Accounting Officer – Land and Buildings Collection Tool

Dear Accounting Officer – Dates for your diary

Peter Lauener, Chief Executive of the ESFA, has written to all academy accounting officers and chief finance officers setting out a timetable for reports over the next 13 months. This includes the new Land and Buildings Collection Tool (LBCT) which is due for submission in October.


Annual Budget Forecast 2017

Flaming June

This week’s school finance updates include:
- Academies Budget Forecast Return
- Local Government Pension Schemes
- Teachers’ Pension Scheme


May Returns

Not some political prophecy, but a look at this month’s academy returns.

Academies are reminded that their Budget Forecast Return – Outturn must be submitted by Friday 19th May.


The DfE, SARA and what it means for academies

The DfE, SARA and what it means for academies

In this blog we look a little deeper into why academies are required to complete additional financial returns and catch up on other EFA news:
- New Sector Annual Report and Accounts (SARA)
- Insurance top-up funding
- Condition improvement fund
- Monthly data collection for TPS


Academy Budget Forecast Return – One Becomes Two

Academy Budget Forecast Return – One becomes two

The latest ‘Dear Accounting Officer’ letter from the EFA sets out their plans to replace the Academy Budget Forecast Return, due in July, with two returns.

Be prepared for the new return, due in May, with an updated Academic Year Planner which lists key events and deadlines for academies in the coming year.


Effect of the new Budget on schools

Effect of the new Budget on schools A week after the Budget we look at reactions to the announcements affecting the education sector. Budget Shorts A number of education reforms were announced in the chancellor’s Budget speech, which are designed to help address the UK’s current skills shortage. Others have written about the various areas […]


Much To Do In March

After ‘Marching On’ – Hare’s another blog to ensure you are the best informed person in your school on finance and business matters. From The EFA The EFA have reminded academies, that after extending its deadline, all Academy Accounts Returns (AAR) should have been uploaded by 28 February. Those academies that have still to submit […]


Marching On!

In this week’s blog we remind you what is in the EFA Planner prior to Easter and look at some changes to business rates and pensions that will come into force shortly. From the EFA Planner Action: academies to determine admission arrangements Deadline: academies admission appeals timetable by 28 February Deadline: academies to submit full […]


Click here to contact us today!

12 divided by 2 =

Please see our privacy policy