Easter Shorts

Posted  13th April 2015
To ease you back after the Easter break – this week’s blog highlights a small number of areas that appeared in the last few weeks that you might find interesting and useful. Welcome to Easter Shorts. Schools facing potential budget cuts – Institute for Fiscal Studies Report The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) recently produced a paper looking into the changes to school spending over time and, perhaps more importantly, predicting the potential impact of the policy statements from the main political parties over the course of the next parliament. Looking to the future, the report warns that there are ‘likely to be significant cost pressures’ on schools over the next parliament; including a 7% rise in pupil numbers, the known increases to pension and national insurance contributions and other inflationary costs such as teachers’ pay and services. In general, the report suggests that the education funding promises made by the Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democrats would produce broadly similar funding allocations for education. This being a 7-12% cut in real-terms to the schools budget over the next five years. Full report here http://www.ifs.org.uk/publications/7669 Governance There are over 300,000 school governors in England, forming the largest volunteer force in the country. The quality of governance has a specific focus in Ofsted inspections, and the Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Schools, Lord Nash continues to reinforce the important role that governors play in the strategic leadership of schools. All governors can take advantage of free training workshops provided by the National College, which address strategic themes:
  • Understanding and using performance-related pay
  • Understanding and using RAISEonline to improve school outcomes
  • Improving financial efficiencies in school
All Governing Bodies should undertake periodic reviews of their effectiveness. Academies must report on the results of this in their Annual Report and Accounts (see Blog 24 March and Section 4.2 of the 2013-2014 Accounts Direction). Links – NCTL Blog, The role of governors in a school-led system. https://nctl.blog.gov.uk/2015/03/12/the-role-of-governors-in-a-school-led-system/ Governance Reviews. https://www.gov.uk/reviews-of-school-governance https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/academies-financial-management-and-governance-reviews Letter to all Academy Principals The Schools Commissioner has written an open letter about the new system of regional schools commissioners and head teacher boards to oversee academies. It provides an update on how the academy and free school programme is developing. The commissioner asks that the letter is shared with all staff. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/letter-to-all-academy-principals-from-frank-green NASBM Training NASBM has announced a number of training sessions and workshops, including:
  • Tight budgets and tough decisions
  • Financial skills refresher for primary SBMs and Finance Officers(April 2015)
  • An introduction to financial management in schools (Academies)
  • An introduction to financial management in schools (Maintained)
  • Academy Budget Forecast Return
  • Positive Handling Strategies - Restraint Training
  • An introduction to marketing your school
  • IOSH accredited training for SBMs
  • Income generation & writing successful funding applications
  • How to survive and thrive in the role of school business manager
http://www.nasbm.co.uk/Training.aspx From The Education Funding Agency The EFA has published guidance and a workbook to help academy trusts prepare their 2015 to 2016 budget forecast before completing the online form, which will be available to use from 1 June 2015. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/academies-budget-forecast-form The Condition Improvement Fund announcement confirms funding of £367 million for 1,366 projects across 1,089 academies and sixth-form colleges. A further 79 projects have been asked to resubmit their bids. https://www.gov.uk/condition-improvement-fund The EFA have added 2 modules to its efficiency toolkit training videos. ‘Financial Efficiency in Schools - A Strategic Approach’ and ‘Workforce Planning’. Five modules are now available to support SBMs. https://registration.livegroup.co.uk/efa/ContentTabs/?ctid=298