School financial management
Accounts and tax
- Cash flow forecasts: guidance for academies Learn how to manage cash flow as a school business manager (SBM). See what to include in your monthly forecasts to help monitor and report income and expenditure. Download a template from the ISBL and get tips for filling out cash flow templates.
- 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 to grips with what you need to prepare and do when it comes to monthly budget monitoring reports for academy trusts.
- Procedures for keeping track of money in school Find advice for keeping track of money, setting up financial controls, and using petty cash funds in your school.
- Returns required from academies Find out what data and returns you must submit and when - including your audited accounts, budget forecast return, school resource management self-assessment and teachers' pension returns.
- Rules for off-payroll workers (IR35 rules) The off-payroll working rules changed on 6 April 2021. Understand what changed and how the changes affect the way you pay for services from a worker with an intermediary.
- Voluntary funds: what can they be used for? Read guidance from the Charity Commission and our education experts on using voluntary funds. See examples of how schools use their funds, including cases where the school is registered as a charitable organisation.
Charges and voluntary contributions
- Charging for educational visits Find out which educational visits you can charge for and how much you should charge. Download our handy template to help you calculate your costs. Plus, find out what to do with any money that's left over.
- Charging for residential school trips Understand what you can and can't charge for with respect to residential trips. 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. You can download our template letters to remind and warn parents when debts aren't being paid.
Fundraising and grants
- Case study: getting the most out of PTA fundraising efforts Parent and carer associations are a great way to build a strong sense of community and to help your school get the extra financial support it needs. See how one PTA raised over £20,000 in a term and share their ideas with your own PTA.
- 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.
- Case study: Increase pupil numbers with a targeted marketing strategy 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 its school’s income.
- Fundraising ideas for small schools See expert advice and practical ways of fundraising for small or rural schools, to help you combat any challenges in generating income. Find out how one small, rural school raised £50,000 for a new classroom, and how you can too.
- Funds and freebies: monthly highlights UpdatedFind a selection of the grants available to schools across a range of areas, and details of freebies you can access. You can also learn about cost-of-living support available for your school and community.
- Generating income and maximising funds With uncertainties around the cost of living, you might be thinking about how to raise more money for your school. Read on for ways to make the most of your funding and post-Covid premium, how to generate extra income and how schools have put their ideas into practice.
How to develop your MAT income generation strategy
Follow our step-by-step guide and use our templates to help you develop your trust’s income generation and fundraising strategy. You'll find trust and school-level templates.
For Trust Leaders
- 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.
Insurance, licensing and legal
- Risk protection arrangement (RPA) The RPA is open to maintained schools and 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.
Managing the school budget
- Academy Trust Handbook: changes from September 2022 Changes to the Academy Trust Handbook 2022 are unlikely to change your operations significantly, but there are a few new rules to be aware of.
- Allocating departmental budgets Find out about the different ways you can allocate curriculum budgets. Download our curriculum budget formula calculator and see case studies from different types of school.
- Benchmarking data: questions to generate discussion and analysis Download our list of questions to help you analyse your benchmarking data, and find guidance from the DfE.
- Budget planning: how to and templates Get to grips with your budget planning. Use our template 5-year budget plan spreadsheets to help you model a range of scenarios and then cost your chosen one in detail.
- Calculating the cost of lessons and courses See how to calculate the cost of lessons and courses to help budget for your curriculum. You'll find variables to take into account and suggested methods to use.
- Calculating the cost of your whole-school SEN provision Understand how to calculate staffing costs for SEN provision so you can better estimate how much money you're spending on your overall SEN provision. Download our tools to help keep track of how much each intervention costs and whether it offers value for money.
- 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 what's changed for 2022-23.
- Cost-of-living crisis: how to manage the impact on your school Find practical steps to help you balance your school’s budget and support your community through this financially challenging time.
Financial benchmarking for multi-academy trusts (MATs)
Effective financial benchmarking is harder for MATs than for standalone schools. Get expert advice on using internal and external benchmarking to improve your trust's financial health, and learn how to find trusts to benchmark against.
For Trust Leaders
- Financial benchmarking: how-to guide 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.
- Financial procedures manuals: examples See examples of financial procedures manuals from a range of schools and a local authority.
- Financial transparency: requirements for maintained schools Get up to speed with the financial regulations for maintained schools designed to improve financial transparency. Find out what you’re required to do, so you can make sure you're compliant.
- Integrated curriculum and financial planning (ICFP): checklist and guidance Find out more about integrated curriculum and financial planning (ICFP), which can help you improve your school's financial efficiency and maximise resources. Use our checklist to walk you through the process.
- Paying for refreshments out of the school budget Understand the rules on using school funds to pay for staff food and drink and see examples of others schools' policies.
- 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 will help you head off likely questions from governors.
- Request form for curriculum funds: template and guidance Get your curriculum budget holders to use our form to request annual funds. Use our checklist to make sure your budget bid request forms for one-off projects cover everything they need to.
- Schemes of financial delegation for multi-academy trusts (MATs) You must have a scheme of financial delegation, but what that looks like depends on how your trust manages its finances. Read expert advice, see an example of how to delegate to different roles, and view examples from other schools.
- School budget: expenditure on staffing Get advice on what percentage of your budget should be spent on staffing, and which staffing costs you should include in your calculations.
- 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.
- School resource management self-assessment: summary Academies must complete the school resource management self-assessment checklist every year. Find out what it covers, so you know what to expect.
- Schools Financial Value Standard (SFVS): summary Maintained schools must complete the SFVS every year. Here's a rundown of what it covers, so you know what to expect.
- Staff salaries: internal benchmarking Benchmarking internal staff salaries helps to make sure you’re paying staff fairly and following equality legislation. See advice on when and how to carry out a review.
- Teachers' pension grant: what you need to know Learn about how the grant is now included in the national funding formula, and see the most recent allocations of the grant and how it's calculated.
- Case study: promoting your rural school to increase your pupil roll Keeping pupil numbers up is key to keeping a rural school viable. Here's how one village school in Suffolk has steadily doubled its pupil roll to become stable again, through promotional strategies that you could try too.
How to advertise your MAT and schools when recruiting
Find out what to include in your recruitment adverts and where to post them so that you stand out and attract the best candidates. Look at examples of how other multi-academy trusts advertise roles.
For Trust Leaders
- How to advertise your school when recruiting Find out what to include in your recruitment adverts and where to post them so that you stand out and attract the best candidates.
- How to use your school Facebook page Get the most out of your Facebook page with our top tips. Learn what to post, the settings that will save you a headache, and how to handle negative comments.
- Marketing to parents: how to choose your selling points Use our article to help you identify what parents are looking for in a school, so you can choose the messages that will make your school stand out. Get guidance and tips on how to use the likes of Facebook and Twitter to get your message out there.
- 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: guidance and resources Read our advice on getting value for money when paying for goods and services. Find useful links to resources to help you manage your finances effectively.
- Contracts register: template Use our template contracts register to keep a record of all of your school's contracts and service level agreements in 1 place.
Deciding who should manage procurement in your trust
You need to set the right level of delegation when it comes to procurement, based on what’s right for your trust. Use this guidance to help you decide how centralised your procurement should be, and how to delegate key tasks.
For Trust Leaders
- How to buy goods, works or services As a maintained school or an academy, you have a duty to get 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 a school from 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.
- How to review contracts coming up for renewal Read advice on managing and renewing your school's contracts, including setting up a contracts register. See tips on streamlining and scrutinising services to get the best value.
- Invitations to tender: templates and examples See guidance on invitations to tender (ITT), including when you do and don't need to use them, along with examples from LAs and a school.
- Procurement framework agreements and G-Cloud Get to grips with the benefits of using a framework agreement when buying goods and services for your school, including the government's G-cloud service.
- School catering: improving financial efficiency See guidance from the National Audit Office (NAO) on making your catering offer more financially efficient, and read a case study from a school that saved money by sourcing milk locally.
- 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.