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:
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.
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!