October – What to look out for

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We start October with a look at the deadlines facing schools this month and the support available. With the party conference season upon us – what should your PEST consider?

From The Planner

What can we expect in October?

Institutions:

  • LAs return part 2 16 to 19 grant returns
  • Academies and others submit 16 to 19 Bursary Fund and residential 2014 to 2015 end of year MI return
  • Return school census – complete and submit autumn school census by 28 October (opens 1 October)
  • ILR R14 returns due from ILR funded institutions
  • New academies must submit the land and building valuation form within 6 weeks of opening (those that opened on 1 September please note). See https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/academies-land-and-buildings-valuation

EFA:

  • Pays the second of 4 pupil premium payments for the 2015 to 2016 financial year and publishes final allocations
  • Publishes online training videos and hosts interactive online training webinars on academies funding for 2016 to 2017
  • Publishes final funding allocations at institution level for 2015 to 2016 academic year

Support From the EFA

The EFA publish regular (weekly in term time) bulletins that provide guidance and support for schools, academies and local authorities. Make sure you are signed up to receive yours – click here.

In recent news:

  • Peter Lauener, Chief Executive of the Education Funding Agency, has written to accounting officers of academy trusts about financial management, accountability and governance. Click here for a copy of the letter.
  • All academies are encouraged to view the 5 training videos the EFA have published to help support completion of the annual academy accounts return accurately, even if you have completed these returns before. Click here for details.
  • New academy trusts incorporated on or after 1 March may be able to defer preparing their first set of annual accounts to 31 August 2016 – but they must advice the EFA if this is their intention.
  • Information has been published on the Condition Improvement Fund for 2016-17, High Needs Funding Arrangements 2016-17 and a reminder about claim for relief on national non-domestic rates.
  • The Teachers Pension Scheme also produced a monthly e-bulletin for Academies and Free Schools to help them with forms, returns and queries relating to the scheme – make sure you get your copy.

PEST

As part of their development plans all schools and academies need to look forward 3 – 5 years and consider how the Political, Economic, Social & Technological landscape might change and impact upon their plans.

Here are a few rumours from reporting on the party conferences and other observations:

  • Labour wants to bring all schools back under the watchful eyes of local bodies. Lucy Powell is reported to want to create ‘greater ability for local decision making around place planning and admissions, as well as standards.’ See more here.
  • As reported in our September blog – the Government will continue to open free schools and encourage other schools to become academies. If you are considering joining or forming a Multi Academy Trust, have a look at the guidance published by the Association of School & College Leaders. Click here.
  • Though the Conservative Manifesto gave a commitment to Universal Infant Free School Meals; many commentators are suggesting that the November Spending Review will cancel this policy which is costing £600-800 million per year. In addition to funding the scheme, millions have also been spent on upgrading kitchens. Click here.
  • The National Minimum Wage increased on the 1 October 2015 and the new National Living Wage will be introduced in 2016 – how will these effect you? Penalties for not paying the national minimum are now applied per employee. More here.
  • A report has been published on the changing role of the School Business Manager. The report predicts that SBMs will become more critical to schools as pressure is put on their budgets. Over 90% of respondents identified a reduction in school budget as their biggest challenge. This may be a particular challenge in local authority maintained schools where the role is reported to be less well developed and supported. Click here.

SBS provides expert advice on all aspects of education finance, from service desk support to complete financial management. Learn more about how we can help your school.

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