As a company that provides strategic financial support to a large number of schools and academies, drb Schools & Academies Services Ltd recognises the importance of medium-term planning for our schools and academies.
Currently, Academy Trusts have to let The Department for Education know about their financial forecast for just the one year ahead and so this is where a lot of the focus has been. However, this emphasis on the short-term has contributed to the findings of recent reviews that the Academy sector is facing very real financial problems if things continue as they are.
Consequently, the Education Skills & Funding Agency have recently confirmed that they will require three years of budgeting information rather than one. Specifically, Academy trusts will be asked to provide details of income and expenditure, as well as some capital spending and “non-cash elements.” This will take effect this year and the expanded Budget Forecast Return is to be submitted by 30 July.
It has also been announced that in September the ESFA will begin to name trusts that do not submit financial returns by the required deadlines for 2 or more of the annual returns in any year.
It seems then that the pressure is on both financially and in terms of workload. It is to be hoped though that a more strategic view will make deficit budgets less likely making the extra work worthwhile. If you think we might be able to assist with strategic planning in your school, academy or trust please contact Doug Skinner at firstname.lastname@example.org. We have extensive experience to draw on and can offer a full range of services from an initial financial health-check to full strategic support.