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SAAF Education Blog: The Academies Show 2016 Report

The Academies Show 2016 Report

We had a fantastic time exhibiting at The Academies Show on 23 November 2016 at the NEC. Incredibly well attended and abuzz with the insight and advice of education experts, the central theme of the day was raising educational standards through taking control.

All of the day’s events were set against the backdrop of the increasing importance of academies themselves. With numbers now at over 6000, it’s a huge rise from the 300 or so in existence just a few years ago.

Our key highlights and takeaways included:

  • Lord Nash’s keynote speech on autonomy.
  • The discussion about changes to budget planning, resulting from new technologies and Brexit.
  • How to work collaboratively to operate more efficiently.
  • The opportunity to demonstrate the capabilities of the SAAF Budget Planner to so many of you!

Autonomy is key for Lord Nash

Lord Nash, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the school system, delivered the show’s keynote talk.

His focus was the impact of autonomy, and he argued that it’s raising the standard of education delivered by academies. As schools and academies have more freedom to self-manage, the budget can be centrally controlled and actively managed by those closest to their pupils.

Devising a budget built around performance has in turn allowed those so called “problem subjects” to be given the resources needed each year. Examples of this would include allowing additional training, equipment and teachers.

Brexit spells change for budget planning

Val Andrew, Chair - Business Leadership Specialist at ASCL, drew a huge crowd to the Business, Finance and Benchmarking Open Theatre – just in front of the SAAF Education stand – where she led a fascinating discussion about the evolving approach to budget planning.

Val’s 5 golden rules for effective budget planning were based around:

  1. Knowing your Average Teacher Cost (VTC)
  2. Documenting your class sizes
  3. Understanding your pupil to teach ratio (PTR)
  4. What you spend per pupil
  5.  Knowing what your staff pay equates to as a % of total expenditure

Likewise, there was also insight into how Brexit, as well as the rise of new technologies, that mean academies are changing the way they approach the budgeting process. For example, many of you are investing in software to facilitate budget planning.

Don’t forget if you need guidance in this area get in touch today and let SAAF Education help.

Collaborate to balance additional costs

The financial best practice panel discussion between Val Andrew, Hazel Wale, Sandy Tomlinson and Sharon Carlyon contained a wealth of valuable insight and advice for schools and academies determined to operate more efficiently.

To balance additional costs and drive economies of scale, successful schools and academies are collaborating to make significant savings, for example by buying books in bulk.

Likewise, schools or academies who are having significant success (or failures) in certain subject or financial areas can actively collaborate to help guide each other. It’s the classic group learning environment situation pupils are so often encouraged to adopt themselves!

The SAAF Education stand was buzzing too

Finally, it was wonderful to have the opportunity to catch up with so many old faces, and meet new ones too, at the SAAF Education stand. We loved having the opportunity to chat about our range of services, and to showcase the capabilities of the SAAF Budget Planner.

If you entered our competition to win a year’s free licence then watch this space… We’ll be announcing the winner shortly.

And if you weren’t able to be there, then just request a free, no obligations demo. You’ll be one of the growing number of schools and academies leveraging the latest software to make budgeting simple.

Our finance solutions for the education sector will help you navigate every aspect of finance management. Get in touch to learn more about how we can help you.

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