Happy birthday SBS blog!

This is  the 30th blog we have published – the first being on 21 March 2014. So happy birthday blog. We hope that you have found the contents over the year useful – and of course we welcome any feedback you might have.

We open this week’s blog with our monthly look at the EFA Planner. With the financial year end there are also reports to send to pension providers and new academies have an Accounts Return to complete. Figures for 2015-16 Pupil Premium and UIFSM have been released. Plenty to be going on with.

 

EFA Planner

From Academy Planner

Academies:

  • Publish and submit to their local authority their determined admissions arrangements for entry in September 2016

EFA:

  • Pays the fourth and final pupil premium payments for the 2014 to 2015 financial year
  • Publishes guide to funding allocations for 2015 to 2016 for academies opening between 1 April 2015 and 31 August 2015

From Maintained School Planner

In future blogs we will also include notes from the Maintained School Planner.  There are no items during April for the Maintained School Planner.

Full details of all the planners provided by the EFA can be found at

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/efa-business-cycle

EFA Weekly Bulletins

The EFA provide bulletins for both academies and maintained schools. If you have not signed up yet follow the link below:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/efa-e-bulletin

Indicative Figures For 2015 – 2016 Budget Planning

The Department has now provided provisional Pupil Premium allocation tables, by schools and by region, calculated using the January 2014 school census data and looked-after children numbers from the March 2014 return. Final allocations for schools using January 2015 school census data will be calculated in June 2015.

See https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/pupil-premium-2015-to-2016-allocations

Also published are details of the Universal Infant School Meals Grant available to schools in 2015 – 2016. An income calculator spreadsheet is included in the information provided.

See https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/universal-infant-free-school-meals-uifsm-funding-allocations-2015-to-2016

Year End Pension Returns

Although not included in the EFA Planner, Academies should be aware that they are responsible for completing year end returns to the Teachers Pension Scheme and their Local Government Pension Scheme.

The Teachers’ Pension Scheme will provide Academies with a blank end of year certificate (EOYC) with a figure for contributions received by Teachers’ Pensions in the year. You’ll need to complete the form with information from your payroll reports. The form should be returned to TPS by the last working day in May. Your auditor will be required to review the return, this can be done now but no later than the end of September. Please ensure that you complete and forward your form in sufficient time for your auditor to complete the checks and return the form to Teachers’ Pensions by the due date.

For more details click here.

Your Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) will be in touch with their requirements. Precise details may vary from scheme to scheme, but at the end of each scheme year, as a scheme employer you are required to provide the Pension Fund with information about the total contributions that each of your LGPS members has paid during the scheme year and their cumulative pay. This return will need to be completed in accordance with your LGPS’s timetable, but we would expect this to be before the end of April.

March Accounts Return

Academy trusts that did not prepare audited financial statements as at 31 August 2014 or that opened new academies between 1 September 2014 and 31 March 2015 should submit the return by 31 May 2015. Guidance is provided – see link.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/academies-march-accounts-return-template-and-guide

The EFA are holding a webinar at 3pm on 30 April, anyone can register for the webinar – see link below.

https://registration.livegroup.co.uk/efa/

School Business Management National Scholarship Fund

A second round of scholarships for School Business Managers has been announce. To be eligible for the scholarship SBM’s will need to:

  • Complete a full SBM qualification or complete at least 3 units from the SBM programme
  • Enrol with an organisation that is an approved Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) SBM training centre

For further details about the scholarships:

https://www.gov.uk/school-business-management-national-scholarship-fund

Governance Reviews

Academies may recall when completing their 2013 Annual Report & Accounts , that the Coketown Guidance included the following instruction:

Describe any evaluation or review that has been undertaken during the year on the impact and effectiveness of the board of trustees, including any external review of governance as defined by the National College for Teaching and Leadership. Where a review has taken place, describe the findings, any actions taken and the impact they had. Indicate when the trust intends to conduct its next self-evaluation or external review of governance. If the trust has not carried out a review it should still indicate when it intends to do so.

With public and EFA interest in how Academies are governed remaining, we believe all Trust’s will need to demonstrate that they have completed a review during 2015.

What is involved – the following link will help guide you.

https://www.gov.uk/reviews-of-school-governance

Risk Protection Arrangement (RPA)

The new Risk Protection Arrangement (RPA) started with 619 academy members on 1 September 2014, just 15% of the open academies in England. The Department for Education (DfE) have stated that as of 1 December 2014 the number of academies who have signed up to the RPA has increased to 768.

The slow take up might be due to the timing of existing insurance arrangement or uncertainty over whether the RPA is right for you.

Details of the scheme (updated on 5 March 2015) can be found by following the link below:

https://www.gov.uk/academies-risk-protection-arrangement-rpa

Academies need to provide as much notice as possible before opting into the RPA and must not have a period when they are not covered by commercial insurance and have not joined the RPA.

Gift Aid and Voluntary Contributions

Schools generally cannot charge for trips undertaken as part of the curriculum and during school hours. Most schools will ask for voluntary contributions, perhaps ‘suggesting’ a suitable level. But remember schools must ensure that they inform parents on low incomes and in receipt of certain benefits of the support available to them when being asked for contributions towards the cost of school visits.

Further guidance on charges click here.

So the question arises can gift aid be claimed on such donations. Unfortunately the answer is no; unless the payment made for the trip is considerably more than the actual cost (the benefit enjoyed). The maximum value of benefits received should be no more than 25% of the donation. Once the threshold has been exceeded gift aid is not available. So with a trip costing £10 per head, a parent would have to give at least £40 before Gift Aid becomes possible!

To The Next Year

A longer blog this week – but you have all Easter to digest it – - – along with all that chocolate and wine you gave up during lent! !


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