Business rates: academiesHow much business rate relief do academies receive? We explain that academies claim the 80% mandatory business rate relief from the local authority. We also look at how academies can claim the remaining 20%.
Cash flow forecasts: guidance for academiesIs 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.
Monthly financial management for academiesGet 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 schoolHow 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.
Statements of Internal ControlMust we have a Statement of Internal Control (SIC)? The Department for Education (DfE) no longer requires schools to complete a SIC, but local authorities may have their own requirements. This article links to a guide on completing an SIC, which includes an example.
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).
Accepting childcare vouchers for trips and extended servicesCan childcare vouchers be used to pay for trips? We relay information from HMRC and voucher providers on whether schools can accept vouchers for trips or extended services. You will also find examples of information for parents from schools on using childcare vouchers.
Charging for educational visitsCan 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 tripsUnderstand 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.
Recovering debt from parents: what to doUse 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 activitiesCan 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.
7 fundraising ideas for small schoolsSmall, 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.
Charities Act 2016: fundraising for academies and MATsHow 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.
Funds and freebies: monthly highlightsUpdatedSee 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 fundsHow 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 projectsWhat 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 one school made £350,000 from its local high streetChris 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.
Playgrounds: sources of fundingWhat 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 studiesAre 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 strategiesWhat 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 guidanceHow 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.
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.
Licence requirements for schoolsFind out about some of the most common licences schools are likely to need, including for TV, software, the copyright for music and film, and the copyright for printed and digital material.
Public liability insuranceWhat 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: licensingDo 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.
Academies: running a deficit budgetCan 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 budgetHow 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 budgetsFind 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 analysisIs 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 spendingFind 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 salariesHow 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 reporting and monitoring systemsAre 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 coursesHow 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 provisionHow 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 glossaryTogether 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 schoolThis 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'.
Informing staff about a deficit budgetHow should a school inform staff of a deficit budget? We include advice from one of our associate education experts on how to communicate this situation to staff, along with some suggested wording for a letter to do this.
Managing the school budgetWe 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 studiesHow 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 budgetCan 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: templatesKeep 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 moneyHow 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 guidanceIs 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 meetingsHow 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 staffingWhat 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.
How to market your school to parentsUse our article to help you identify what parents are looking for in a school and how to make your school stand out. Get to grips with how to use the likes of Facebook and Twitter to get your message out there and pull people in.
How to use your school Facebook pageUse our top tips to make your school Facebook page a success. Learn what to post, the settings that will save you a headache, and how to respond to negative comments.
Open days and evenings for parentsAre there examples of open day formats? We look at details of open days and open evenings in primary, secondary and junior schools. We also link to questionnaires to gather feedback after the event.
Academy reviews of value for moneyAcademies 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.
Contracts register: templateUse 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: guidanceIs 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 servicesAs 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.
Related party transactions: requirements and guidanceMake 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 efficiencyHow 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.
When you need to re-procureContracts 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.