In the week when a report for Education Select Committee once again questioned controls in Academies, we remind new academies of the actions the EFA expects of them this term, and look in brief at a number of issues Business Manager’s should be aware of and may have on post it notes!
The school featured in Educating Essex is also looking to do more to help its pupils.
EFA Goes Weekly
With the start of the new school year the EFA has started publishing its e-bulletins weekly. If you miss out on any, all recent bulletins are at https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/efa-e-bulletin
Calls for Stronger Controls in Academies
Last week the BBC reported on the Education Select Committee’s comments on the checks and balances within academies. Whilst it was stressed that cases of deliberate fraud were rare and that most academies were working hard in challenging conditions to raise standards, it was felt that controls for spending large amounts of public money are too weak.
We will hear more about this in the coming weeks as the new Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan, will be questioned about “loopholes” in academy regulation when she appears before the committee next month.
School Business Managers are reminded that Peter Lauener, CEO of the EFA, has written to Accounting Officers this month to remind them of their responsibilities. And that the new Academies Handbook requires such letters to be shared with the chair and others governing the school. A copy of the letters can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/letter-to-academy-trust-accounting-officers
New Academies & Free Schools
All new Academies will have received a ‘Welcome Pack’ from the EFA. The aim of this publication is to guide schools through the first few months on matters relating to funding, funding-agreement compliance, finance and financial assurance.
The following actions will be required this term:
|Within 6 weeks of opening||Complete and submit your land and building valuation information form. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/academies-land-and-buildings-valuation|
|6 weeks after receiving your final funding letter||Submit your budget forecast using the online form. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/academies-budget-forecast-form-2014-to-2015|
|3 months after opening||Academies without a sponsor to finalise their closing balance with their local authority.|
|4 months after opening||Submit financial management and governance self-assessment (FMGS) form to EFA (unless alternative assurance methods have been agreed). https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/academy-financial-management-and-governance-self-assessment-guidance|
Many of you will have seen the Channel 4 programme Educating Essex, which follows students and staff at Frederick Bremer School. The school is hoping to extend the support it provides to its students by raising further funds for The Frederick Bremer Hardship Fund – a hardship fund that is used to help those pupils whose parents are facing financial difficulties, with the money used to fund basic things such as uniform, shoes, school trips and a free breakfast club for those in most need.
School Business Services provides ICT Support at the school, and we would like to help the school by publicising the efforts of three staff that are running the Brighton Half Marathon in February.
Teachers Pension End of Year Certificate – Those Academies that did not have their TPS End of Year Certificate audited when submitting it by the 31 May deadline will need to do so by 30 September. https://www.teacherspensions.co.uk/employers/employer-guide/scheme-administration/end-of-year-certificate/eoyc-non-la.aspx
Business Cycle Wall Planner – The EFA has updated its wall planner for the 2014-15 academic year. We will remind you of events on a month by month basis in this blog. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/efa-business-cycle
EFA Information Exchange – Activation letters and a PIN has been sent out to all academies. This portal will be used for a range on online services and forms. Details on how to get support in using the portal can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/efa-information-exchange
Risk Protection Arrangement – The new scheme came into force from 1 September. RPA is an alternative to the insurance policies academies require, where losses that arise are covered by government funds. The .gov.uk website was updated with the latest details of the scheme on 5 September. https://www.gov.uk/academies-risk-protection-arrangement-rpa
National Insurance Discount – Academies are reminded that they can claim a discount of up to £2,000 on the amount of employer Class 1 National Insurance contributions they make in the current year. Please talk to your pay roll provider. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-insurance-2000-employment-allowance
Minimum Wage – The National Minimum Wage increases from the 1 October. Those 21 or over must now be paid a minimum of £6.50. https://www.gov.uk/national-minimum-wage-rates