After what was undoubtedly a chilly May, let’s hope for a fine June.
There are all those sports days, picnics, and summer fetes that need to take place on time or chaos will ensue. Now that we know who is in power for the next 5 years, it’s also time for academies to put the finishing touches to their 3 and 5 year budgets.
If you need any help with your plans (not your sports days or fetes – though we are partial to cake) then give us a call. We are constantly improving our online planner, SBS Online, which now has a number of bespoke features.
So what it happening in the sector?
From The EFA Planner
We start our first blog of the month with our usual look at what the EFA has planned.
Schools & Academies:
- Submit summer school census (by 17 June)
- Publishes Academies Financial Handbook, applicable for the 2015 to 2016 financial year
- Publishes the delayed Accounts Direction for accounts to 31 August 2015
- Publishes updated guide to completing the 2015 to 2016 budget forecast return, for new academies open after 31 March 2015
- Makes devolved formula capital payment for 2015 to 2016
- Hosts webinar on 2015 to 2016 budget forecast return
- Launches school capacity survey
The EFA also reminds new academies (in particular those that may have converted on 1 April 2015), that they must submit a land and buildings valuation form within 6 weeks of opening – click here for further guidance.
Finally, the EFA have recently reminded academies that approval from the EFA is required before entering into any finance leases, as this method of repayment is classified as borrowing. Special mention was made of arrangements to lease photocopiers and multi-function devices, even where an operating lease is being considered. For further information click here.
Education & Adoption Bill
This bill was included within the Queen’s Speech. The purpose of the bill, as stated on the Gov.UK website, is to:
- Give all children the best possible start in life
- Strengthen the intervention powers in failing maintained schools. It will be clear that the solution for inadequate schools is to become a sponsored academy. It will also give Government powers to intervene in coasting schools and will allow them to require action from those schools which have not seen pupils make sufficient progress
- Introduce measures that will enable Government to deliver regional adoption agencies
Along with the pledge to open 500 new free schools, the bill is likely to see many individual academies becoming Multi Academy Trusts (MATs). We understand Regional School Commissioners will be focusing their efforts in creating many more MATs so that challenging schools can have further support.
For further information on all the proposals in the Queen’s Speech click here
Schools Business Services recently delivered training to finance governors from a number of schools in Poole. Governors were particularly interested in how they fulfil the requirements set out in the finance section of the governors’ handbook.
Governors in academies should use Annex C of the academies handbook in the same way that governors of maintained schools follow the Schools Financial Value Standard (SFVS). The links below will take schools and academies to the appropriate guidance.
If you work in a Multi Academy Trust, the parliamentary group on ‘Education, Governance & Leadership’ has recently published 21 key questions for MAT Boards – see below.
If you or your governors require further support School Business Services will be happy to provide training.
Call us on 0845 300 8179 – Option 2, and ask to speak to Lisa Kelly.
Whilst academies have been required to publish details of governors and their business interests for some time (and lack of publication is a breach of their funding agreement), the same regulations will apply to maintained schools from 1 September 2015.
With the requirement for more and more information to be provided, we suggest that all schools undertake an annual audit of their website.
At this point I normally include a link to a Gov.UK page – but the page I found was last updated in September 2014 so does not include the latest guidance. Instead can I refer you to a website for clerks to governors, click here for their guidance:
Now, I feel the urge for some sun myself. Quick, before that chocolate éclair melts!