Schools and academies are in the position where the search for savings is a constant. Since 2017, the government has encouraged the input of School Resource Management Advisers (SRMA’s) to help in this endeavour. The first formal evaluation of the impact of their input has now been published.

ESFA findings show that ‘experts have helped schools find £172 million of savings’

What is striking from this evaluation is that almost three-quarters of the savings identified related to staff costs and the optimum way of finding these is through Integrated Curriculum Financial Planning (ICFP) and scrutiny. Recommendations are made to schools including ways to deploy staff more effectively. With the recent DfE announcements on teachers pay from September 2020, increasing main scale teachers pay by an average of 4.5%, there has never been a more important time to adopt this analysis.

What is ‘Curriculum First’?

drb’s ‘Curriculum First’ tool can review how efficient and effective your curriculum and staffing structure is, whether you are a single academy or one of a group of schools, typically within a Multi Academy Trust (MAT). Our team has long recognised that an ICFP analysis is a valuable tool for schools to use. A Curriculum First review involves a detailed analysis of a school’s budget and staffing structure and provides the School / MAT with a detailed internal review template which they can then use to benchmark against other schools and MAT’s or even benchmark across schools within the same MAT.

In short, Curriculum First clearly links school finances to the delivery of the curriculum with a view to identifying savings while also maintaining and improving standards. School feedback to the process and findings has consistently been extremely positive.

How can drb Schools and Academies Services help?

Given the government’s evaluation of the SRMA process, it is clear that the emphasis on achieving “optimal deployment of teaching and leadership staff” through Integrated Curriculum and Financial Planning will be encouraged even more in the future.

If you are interested in drb helping you with this process, please contact Doug Skinner at or call 07843 282535 to discuss this service in more detail.

David Bagley

Author David Bagley

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