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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.
  • 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.