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  • Cash flow forecasts: guidance for academies Is there guidance for academies on preparing monthly cash flow forecasts? We look at the requirement for academies to manage cash flow, and relay advice from NASBM and an expert on monitoring and reporting income and expenditure. You will also find a sample cash flow forecast from NASBM and the ESFA.
  • Charging for school premises: lettings Generate income for your school by letting your school premises. Learn how to set your costs and where to turn for advice on VAT.
  • Monthly financial management for academies Get the information you need on the requirements of monthly budget monitoring reports for academy trusts. Here we also link to a template for these and guidance on what should be prepared.
  • Procedures for keeping track of money in school How can schools keep track of money? We look at guidance from the Audit Commission on financial controls. We also relay advice from one of our associate experts on how to keep track of incoming cash, and guidance from another of our experts on petty cash management.
  • Returns required from academies Find out what data and returns you must submit and by when.
  • Rules on engaging intermediaries (IR35 rules) The off-payroll working rules will change from April 2021. Understand what the new rules are and how they might affect how you pay for services from a worker with an intermediary.
  • Voluntary funds: what can they be used for? What can a voluntary school fund be used for? We highlight guidelines from the Charity Commission and a local authority on the use of voluntary funds. We also look at an example of how a school uses its voluntary fund and relay advice from the Institute of School Business Leadership (ISBL).
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  • Charging for educational visits Can we charge pupils for school trips? This article points to DfE guidance on charging for school activities, including educational visits. You will also find a KeyDoc template for calculating the cost of school trips, and examples of how schools ask for contributions towards the cost of visits.
  • Charging for residential school trips Understand what you can and can't charge for with respect to residential trips, and read guidance on when parents may be exempt from paying for elements that are normally chargeable.
  • Charging for school activities Find out what activities and equipment you can and can't charge parents for and how to request payment.
  • Recovering debt from parents: what to do Use our step-by-step guide to find out how to proceed if a parent hasn't paid fees for things like school meals or trips. Plus, download our template letters that you can send to remind and issue warnings to parents.
  • Requesting voluntary contributions for activities Can we request voluntary contributions for school activities? We look at what the Education Act 1996 says about requesting voluntary contributions. We also relay guidance on charging from the Department for Education, and look at ways that schools have requested contributions.
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  • 7 fundraising ideas for small schools Small, rural schools often struggle with fundraising, as they don't have the same amount of time, resources or parents to help them. Two of our experts with experience as small school headteachers set out some practical ways of fundraising successfully despite these extra challenges.
  • Case study: How one rural school boosted its per-pupil funding by 20% Rural schools frequently struggle with funding and many are fighting to stay viable. Here’s how one rural academy trust used marketing to increase pupil numbers by 20% and as a result boost their school’s income.
  • Case study: how to make your school community your best fundraising asset Struggling to balance the budget? Lucky enough to have parents who can help out? Read on to see how Horniman Primary School has harnessed the power of the local community to double the PTA's annual fundraising income, to maintain what parents value most about the school.
  • Charities Act 2016: fundraising for academies and MATs How is fundraising in academies and MATs affected by the Charities Act 2016? We relay information from the Fundraising Regulator on the requirements in force from November 2016. We also explain how you know if they apply to you.
  • Funding news 2019/20 Keep up to date on funding news with our rolling news article.
  • Funds and freebies: handpicked for small and rural schools Your selection of the latest funding and grant opportunities specific to rural or small schools, many with quick application processes for time-pressed senior leaders.
  • Funds and freebies: monthly highlights UpdatedSee the latest deadlines for funding opportunities. You'll also find a selection of the grants available to schools across a range of areas, and details of freebies you can access.
  • Generating income and raising funds How can schools generate additional income? This article sets out ways to generate extra money using a school's existing resources, and links to further information on these approaches. You will also find case studies from 2 schools about successful income generation.
  • Grants for small capital projects What grants are available for small capital projects? This article highlights sources of capital funding that may be suitable for lower-value capital projects in schools. It also points to scheme that donates unsellable DIY materials and surplus paint to charities, including schools.
  • How a small, rural primary school raised £50,000 for a new classroom Snape Primary School needed to raise money to build a new classroom, so it could expand to take more pupils. Here’s how they did it, and how you can too.
  • How one school made £350,000 from its local high street Chris Dyson, a headteacher in one of the most deprived areas of the country, has discovered an untapped revenue stream: businesses that want to give back. Last year they helped him save £350,000 and now he says “money isn’t a problem at our school.” Chris explains how he does it, and how others can too.
  • How to write a successful grant application Know the ins and outs of writing a successful funding application and find out about the latest opportunities.
  • Playgrounds: sources of funding What funding is there for play equipment in school playgrounds? This article links to information on national and regional grants and awards. We also include advice on approaching businesses for funding, and link to further articles on grants and funding applications.
  • School-business partnerships: guidance and case studies Are there examples of schools that have worked with businesses to generate income? We relay case studies from schools that have used partnerships with businesses to generate income or achieve savings. We also set out guidance from one of our associate education experts on working with businesses.
  • School fundraising strategies What strategies can schools use to raise additional funds? One of our associate education experts suggests fundraising strategies. You will also find advice from three schools on raising additional money.
  • School fundraising strategies: template and guidance How can we create a fundraising strategy? This article features a KeyDoc template for a school fundraising strategy, which includes example text. We relay guidance on creating a fundraising strategy from three organisations, and point to an example of a fundraising policy from a school.
  • Take your own school photos and earn cash for your school St Michael’s Church of England Primary School earns £1,500 every photo day. Here's how you can too – with a one-off £800 investment in equipment, and value-for-money printing.
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  • Guide to seeking high-quality legal advice With many different providers available, and large amounts of money involved, it's important that schools have access to high-quality, reliable legal advice. Our guide will help you choose the right provider if you don't have one, decide when you need a legal opinion, and prepare for the phone call to get the best advice.
  • Public liability insurance What is an appropriate level of public liability insurance? This article relays advice from two of our associate education experts on public liability insurance, and points to suggested levels of insurance for schools and external providers in schools.
  • Risk protection arrangement (RPA) The RPA will soon be open to maintained schools as well as academies. It's an alternative to commercial insurance and managed by the DfE. Learn what it covers, how much it costs and how to join.
  • Selling alcohol at school events: licensing Do we need a licence to sell alcohol at school events? We outline licensing requirements for serving alcohol at one-off events and guidance on applying for a temporary event notice (TEN). You will find information about when a TEN is required, how to apply, and storing and displaying the notice.
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  • Academies Financial Handbook: changes from September 2020 Read about the changes that you should be aware of, including new items to publish on your trust website and the creation of a new committee on your board.
  • Academies: running a deficit budget Can academies run deficit budgets? We look at the rules on running deficit budgets in academies that have reserves available, and academies that do not. We also look at whether one academy in a MAT can run on a deficit budget when the MAT is in surplus overall.
  • Achieving efficiency in the staffing budget How can schools be more efficient with the staffing budget? The largest proportion of any school’s budget will be spent on staffing, so we look at how schools can achieve best value for money. We relay advice from a law firm and FASNA, and include case studies from secondary schools and a MAT.
  • Allocating departmental budgets Find out about ways in which you can calculate curriculum department budgets, including by using a formula or by negotiation or bidding. You will also find case studies on methods used by teaching schools.
  • Benchmarking data: questions to generate discussion and analysis Is there a list of questions we can use to analyse our benchmarking data? One of our associate education experts has suggested a list of questions to help schools analyse benchmarking data, which we provide as a printable KeyDoc. We also relay information from the Department for Education.
  • Benchmarking spending Find out what you can do with the schools financial benchmarking service from the DfE, and understand the benefits and limitations of benchmarking. You'll also learn how other schools are using benchmarking.
  • Benchmarking staff salaries How should schools benchmark staff salaries? We outline advice on benchmarking salaries from the unions ASCL and NAHT, the National Association of School Business Management, and one of our associate education experts. We also link to further articles from The Key on benchmarking.
  • Budget planning: how to and templates Get to grips with your budget planning. Use our spreadsheets to help you model a range of scenarios and cost your chosen one in detail.
  • Budget reporting and monitoring systems Are there reporting systems to monitor the progress of the budget? We link to budget reporting systems from an LA and private companies. There is also a link to information about the schools financial benchmarking websites, where schools can compare their income and expenditure with other statistically similar schools.
  • Calculating the cost of lessons and courses How can we calculate the cost of lessons and courses? Three of our associate education experts set out some variables schools should consider when costing lessons, as well as examples of methods to calculate these costs. We also look at working out the curriculum costs of a Key Stage.
  • Consistent financial reporting (CFR) Find out the purpose of the consistent financial reporting (CFR) framework for maintained schools and PRUs, and how to use COLLECT to submit a data return.
  • Costing whole-school SEN provision How can we work out the overall cost of our school’s SEN provision? We relay expert advice on estimating the cost of whole-school SEN provision, including different methods of calculating staffing costs. You will also find LA guidance on whole-school provision mapping and template provision maps.
  • Finance glossary Together with one of our experts we developed a glossary explaining the key financial terms you may encounter as a school leader of a maintained school or an academy trust. You can download it as a KeyDoc to share with your colleagues.
  • Financial efficiency in a medium-size primary school This Showcase presents a case study on achieving financial efficiency from a school recognised for its good practice. You will find information about how Belgrave St Bartholomew's Academy maximises efficiency in the staffing budget, reduces costs by working collaboratively, and saves money by conducting maintenance 'in house'.
  • Financial procedures manuals: examples See examples of financial procedures manuals from a range of schools.
  • Financial transparency: upcoming requirements for maintained schools The government has confirmed changes to financial regulations for maintained schools to improve financial transparency, coming into effect in 2021. Find out what you’ll be required to do so you're prepared.
  • Managing the school budget We summarise key information about managing the school budget in just one page. You can also download a copy of this QuickRead as a ready-made resource to share with colleagues.
  • Maximising financial efficiency: advice and case studies How can schools be more efficient in their spending? The DfE’s financial efficiency metric tool gives schools an indication of how efficient they are with funding. This article includes advice on how schools can ensure spending is as effective and efficient as possible.
  • Paying for refreshments out of the school budget Can schools use their funds for refreshments for staff? We cite the DfE's guidance on the use of school funds for staff refreshments, and highlight some school hospitality arrangements. One of our associate experts discusses how a school's context may affect whether it pays for staff refreshments.
  • Presenting your budget to governors: templates Keep your governors fully informed about your budget planning and decision making with our downloadable templates. You'll find a detailed budget planner, and a planning report that'll help you head off likely questions from governors.
  • Purchases: reviewing value for money How can a school review a purchase to evaluate its value for money? We worked with 2 of our associate education experts to create a downloadable KeyDoc template of a proforma for reviewing purchases. We also relay their advice, including how this relates to the school improvement plan.
  • Request form for curriculum funds: template and guidance Is there a form for curriculum budget holders to request annual funds? One of our associate education experts has created a template budget holder application form, which you can download as a KeyDoc. This article also relays guidance on bid request forms for one-off projects.
  • School budget: effective monitoring meetings How can we hold effective budget monitoring meetings? In this article, one of The Key's associate education experts advises on good practice for budget monitoring meetings between the headteacher and the SBM. You will also find a case study from a school on monitoring the budget.
  • School budget: expenditure on staffing What percentage of the budget should be spent on staffing? We relay advice from our associate experts and a local authority on how much of the school budget should be spent on staff costs. We also answer some FAQs about budgeting for staff expenditure and point to financial benchmarking data.
  • Schools Financial Value Standard (SFVS): summary Maintained schools must complete the SFVS annually. Here's a rundown of what it covers, so you know what to expect.
  • Teachers' pension grant: how to find out your allocation Learn more about your allocation of this grant for September 2019 to March 2020, how to access the supplementary fund, and how you can spend your funding.
  • Using Integrated Curriculum Financial Planning to maximise your resources Integrated Curriculum Financial Planning (ICFP) can help you improve your financial efficiency. Find out more about what it involves and how you can use it to benefit your school or trust.
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    11 articles
  • Purchasing
    • Academy reviews of value for money Academies must include a review of value for money in their annual accounts. Read about the purpose and structure of the review, and see examples from other academy trusts.
    • Achieving value for money: tools, guidance and case studies Read our advice on getting value for money. We look at resources designed to help schools achieve value for money from the DfE. You will also find a download with expert guidance on budget efficiency.
    • Contracts register: template Use our template contracts register to keep a record of all of your school's contracts or service level agreements in one place.
    • Declaring pecuniary interests: guidance Is there guidance for schools on declaring pecuniary interests? This article refers to guidance from a local authority and a school, and relays advice from one of our associate education experts on who should declare pecuniary interests. We also point to examples of registers of pecuniary interests.
    • How to buy goods, works or services As a maintained school or an academy, you have a duty to make sure you obtain the best value for money from any contracts you enter into. Follow our step-by-step procurement guide to make sure you're buying in the right way and complying with the law.
    • How to protect your school against payment fraud Learn about what phishing is, what to look out for and how to avoid it in your school. Create a process for paying invoices and use our template to collect new supplier information.
    • Invitations to tender: templates and examples See guidance and examples for invitations to tender (ITT) so you know what yours should look like and include.
    • Related party transactions: requirements and guidance Make sure that your academy trust is meeting the requirements for managing related party transactions, including the new requirements for reporting and approval of transactions which comes into effect from 1 April 2019.
    • School catering: improving financial efficiency How can we improve the financial efficiency of our school's catering provision? We link to guidance from the National Audit Office (NAO) and relay advice from one of our associate education experts. We cover such topics as in-house and out-sourced catering, food waste and pricing structures.
    • Service level agreements: template and examples Download and adapt our service level agreement template. See examples of SLAs used by schools and get guidance on determining the responsibilities of each party.
    • When you need to re-procure Contracts coming to an end? As a maintained school or academy, you need to make sure you're spending public money wisely and getting best value for money from your contracts for goods and services.
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