All over the UK many children experience problems that can limit their opportunities and restrict their abilities; this may be due to disability, neglect, poverty or psychological or behavioral difficulties.
During the current COVID-19 pandemic, many schools are concerned about the impact on pupils who are eligible for benefits-related free school meals.
Even though the majority of schools are currently closed, the DfE have announced that schools should continue to support these children with the benefit of free school meals.
It can often be frustrating when attempting to navigate the varying funding sources available for projects you wish to undertake within your schools and colleges. If you are a special school or a college, you can now apply for a grant through the Wolfson Foundation’s Funding for Special Schools and Colleges grants programme.
Your accounting software is one of the most important tools in your arsenal when it comes to making key strategic and operational decisions. It not only performs the function of paying suppliers and raising sales invoices, it also acts as your primary system for monitoring all income/expenditure and when utilised to its full potential ensures compliance with statutory reporting as well as being the key control over your financial assets. Having the right system in place and ensuring it is maintained regularly will pay dividends, both in terms of efficient use of available resources as well as offering peace of mind that the financial information being presented to stakeholders is accurate.
With the ever-growing requirements of financial reporting in education, it is crucial that your accounting software not only offers a wide range of reports, but that the reports are up to date and reflect a true and fair position.
Effective internal controls are also essential to enable different levels of access to support the segregation of duties. It is key that the right parts of the system are only available to the right people.
A new benchmarking tool has been released by the DfE, my financial insight tool, which will enable academies to compare their financial performance with 30 most similar schools (based on either pupil characteristics or premises characteristics) in order to analyse data from nine cost categories. The data has been provided from the benchmarking data submitted by trusts in their 2018 to 2019 accounts returns.
Since September 2014 academies have been able to opt-in to the Department for Education’s (DfE) Risk Protection Arrangement (RPA) as an alternative to commercial insurance. The project was introduced to reduce the cost of protecting academies against risk as the average cost of commercial insurance to academies at the time was £49.93 per pupil. The RPA launched at a cost of £25 per pupil and has since been able to reduce this to £18 per pupil in 2019/20.
The government recently announced that pupil premium rates are due to rise in line with inflation from April 2020 for all eligible pupils. This funding will come from the government’s £2.6 billion increase in school budget for 2020/21.
Whilst schools will continue to receive core funding budget allocations, there is also an expectation that schools continue to make payment for pupils attending alternative provisions and also to continue paying staff in line with employment contracts. However additional funding has been identified for all schools including pupil referral units, free schools, alternative provisions and hospital schools and academies for the following expenses:
I am sure all of you have been following updates on COVID-19 and the grave impact it is currently having across the world. Whilst more and more countries take action to manage and mitigate the impact of COVID-19, the efforts of many governments and authorities as well as healthcare staff worldwide to fight this pandemic deserves the greatest respect. This respect also extends to critical workers including schools and academies staff.
When it comes to financial reporting within the school / academy environment, it can be an incredibly comprehensive and lengthy process and is a distinct requirement for academies as set out in the Academies Handbook and for schools in reporting back to their respective Local Authorities. Whilst you may already know the importance of financial reporting, it is also beneficial to know the impact it can have on the overall financial management process; from day-to-day operational tasks, to strategic assignments such as budgets and medium-term financial plans.