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  • Academy Trust Handbook: changes from September 2021 The Academies Financial Handbook has been refreshed and renamed. There are no major changes, but you should still be familiar with what’s different in the new handbook. Use our summary to get up to speed.
  • 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.
  • 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 See how you can identify schools similar to yours and make comparisons using the financial benchmarking service from the DfE. You'll also understand the benefits and limitations of benchmarking, and see examples of how other schools use it.
  • 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 pupil referral units (PRUs), and how to use COLLECT to submit a data return. Plus, see changes for 2020-21.
  • 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.
  • How to calculate the cost of your whole-school SEN provision Know how to calculate staffing costs for your SEN provision so you can get a better estimate of how much money you're spending on your overall SEN provision. Download our tools to help you keep track of how much each intervention costs and whether it's providing value for money.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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: expenditure on staffing What percentage of the budget should be spent on staffing? We relay advice from our associate experts 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.
  • School budget monitoring: questions to discuss Learn about what you'll want to cover in your leadership budget monitoring meetings. Use our questions to help you spot any issues and get suggested next steps to help you keep costs down.
  • 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: what you need to know Learn about how the grant will soon be included in the national funding formula, the most recent allocations of the grant, and how it's calculated.
  • 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.