Archived News - 2013

PE Funding For Schools: Friday, 13th December, 2013

PE FUNDING FOR SCHOOLS


The department for education earlier this year allocated £7,600.00 to state funded schools with secondary aged pupils for PE teacher release funding. The main aim of the grant is to help support schools to effectively fund physical exercises and activities in schools to promote healthy living and minds for pupils.

PURPOSE OF FUNDING


  • Provision of specialist PE and sport support to local schools.
  • Promote competitive sport for all pupils, including the school games.
  • Help in involving staff, parents, local people and young leaders to lead competitive sports.
  • To encourage less active pupils and pupils with disabilities to engage in competitive sports.

ELIGIBLE SCHOOLS


  • All state funded schools with at least 20 secondary aged pupils (in the range of 12-16).
  • All state maintained schools and academies.
  • Special Schools.
  • Pupil referral units that meets the above stated criteria

LEVEL OF FUNDING


  • £7,600.00 per eligible school.
  • Schools are free to use their own budgets to increase the amount.
  • Grant does not have to be used up by schools by the end of the financial year.
  • Grant could be carried forward to the next financial year

Disadvantaged Two Year Olds Receiving Up To Fifteen Hours A Week Of Fully Funded Childcare: Friday, 13th December, 2013

DISADVANTAGED TWO YEAR OLDS RECEIVING UP TO FIFTEEN HOURS A WEEK OF FULLY FUNDED CHILDCARE.

The department for education has indicated in a policy document that, around 92,000 of the most disadvantaged 2 year olds are currently enjoying 15 hours a week of fully funded child care. Childcare cost has been a major headache for families in this country for a considerable period of time. The released figures concerning the said funding will therefore be a welcoming relief for those parents that have been earmarked for the scheme. According to the department, evidence shows that 2 year olds in good and outstanding nursery classes and childminders – see real gain in terms of language skills, physical, social and emotional development. This care also allow parents to concentrate on their day to day chores with confidence, knowing that their kids are in a safe hands and place.


Policy Highlights


  • 70% of the 130,000 identified children are already benefiting from the scheme.
  • There has been considerable improvement in the number of children catered for by the scheme. 20,000 children were provided for in 2010.
  • The government wants to see more 2 year olds in high quality early education.
  • Over £500 million funding earmarked for the year under review.
  • Funding to increase to £760 million in 2014/ 15.


Benefits of the Scheme to Parents and Children


  • Positive contribution to a child’s future success through solid basic learning skills.
  • Ensures children are prepared for school, the world at large and a head start in life.
  • Disadvantaged children giving best possible chance to succeed.

Military Ethos Education Projects Receive New Funding: Friday, 13th December, 2013

MILITARY ETHOS EDUCATION PROJECTS RECEIVE NEW FUNDING

The Department for education has granted an amount of £4.8 million to projects led by ex-armed forces personnel to tackle the problem of underachievement by disengaged pupils in schools. The latest funding has come about as a result of improvement in engagements and performance exhibited by pupils that have had the opportunity of associating themselves with the scheme. The funding will see 6 projects administered, including two charities (the Prince’s Trust and CVQO) with the sole aim of driving up standards and inspire confidence in underachieving pupils.

Main Activities


  • Address potential behaviour issues through one-to-one mentoring skills.
  • Helping primary school children in their transition to secondary school through building their self confidence.
  • Liaising with schools and other agencies to help pupils who are not in education, preparing them for post 16 courses or jobs.
  • Outdoor and indoor team building exercises with an educational focus to encourage discipline, leadership, teamwork and good behaviour.
  • Administer military-style obstacle courses to engage hard to reach pupils to succeed both outside and in the classroom.

Achievements to date


  • Pupils that have had the opportunity of engaging in the programme, have seen marked improvement in their behaviours and study progress in maths, English and science subjects.
  • Feedback from pupils, parents and other agencies indicates considerable progress through motivation and skills to make successful to mainstream education.

Focus Group


According to the Department for education, the following groups are administering the scheme.

Challenger Troop, which provides leadership and engagement programmes for vulnerable or disengaged pupils aged 8 to 16 across the UK, particularly in the toughest areas of London and the South East, has been awarded £1 million.

SkillForce which provides a programme of challenges in the outdoor environment, integrated to support literacy and numeracy has been awarded £967,000.

The Prince’s Trust, which works with disadvantaged young people to help them into work, education and training, has been awarded £700,000.

Commando Joe’s which provides trained mentors and challenging activities for schools in some of the most deprived and hard-to-reach areas of the UK has been awarded £1 million

OFQUAL Confirms GCSE Overhaul: Sunday, 3rd November, 2013

OFQUAL CONFIRMS GCSE OVERHAUL


The recent proposed overhaul to the GCSE in England announced by the Education Secretary Michael Gove has finally been confirmed by the exams regulator OFQUAL. The said change will impact on both examinations and syllabus for GCSE. The changes according the exams regulator will be in stages, starting with pupils due to take exams in 2017, with pupils turning 13 this year as the first cohort. The new system will see in place a grading system that uses numbers instead of letters, and course work being scrapped for most subjects.

KEY FEATURES

  • English and maths are the first subjects to be affected.
  • New course for English and maths to commence from autumn 2015.
  • Pupils who fail their exams will be classified by ‘U’ (Unclassified Result).
  • All exams to be taken after two years of study.
  • More emphasis to be placed on spelling, punctuation and grammar.
  • No more modular courses.
  • Greater emphasis to be placed on core skills.
  • More challenging exams for pupils.
  • English literature students to study whole text in full.
  • New maths exams to cover more topics than the current system.


LOOKING AHEAD


Changes in any shape or form is a challenging venture to undertake, however, when it bothers on the future of young students, then care should be the watch word. The government has indicated that the current system has led pupils and students down with its frequent testing and no emphasis on deeper learning. There is therefore the need to get this changes right first time leaving no room for errors.

Early Learning Funding For 2 Year Olds: Tuesday, 8th October, 2013

EARLY LEARNING FUNDING FOR 2 – YEAR –OLDS

Local Authorities have been tasked by the Department for Education to provide early learning for two year olds from September, 2013. The said funding will see to the provision of free early learning for disadvantaged children and support working parents. The scheme will also improve the attainment and life chances of over 20% of 2-year olds in the country. The funding will cater for over 130,000 2-year-olds receiving 570 hours per year of funded early education. More importantly, all 2-year-olds who are looked after by their local authority are eligible.


Eligibility


According to the Department for Education, the following are the qualifying criteria:



  • All two year olds who are looked after by their local authority. v2-year-olds whose family receives one of the following are also eligible:
  • income support
  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • support through part 6 of the Immigration and Asylum Act
  • the guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit (but not Working Tax Credit) and have an annual income not over £16,190
  • The Working Tax Credit 4-week run on (the payment you get when you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit).


Looking Forward



The government intends to include 2-year-olds who meet any one of the following eligibility criteria from September 2014:

  • if they meet the eligibility criteria also used for free school meals vif their families receive Working Tax credits and have annual gross earnings of no more than £16,190 per year vif they have a current statement of special educational needs (SEN) or an education, health and care plan vif they attract Disability Living Allowance; vif they are looked after by their local authority vif they have left care through special guardianship or through an adoption or residence order.


Providers



Places could be obtained from registered providers that follow the early years foundation stage (EYFS). This may include schools and childminders (Ofsted registered). Local authorities are also required to provide funding for early learning places in:

  • any setting rated ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’
  • settings rated ‘satisfactory/requires improvement’, only in areas where there is not sufficient ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ provision
  • new settings registered with Ofsted until their first full Ofsted inspection judgement is published

Phonics Screening Check And National Curriculum Assessments At Key Stage One In England: Tuesday, 8th October, 2013

PHONICS SCREENING CHECK AND NATIONAL CURRICULUM ASSESSMENTS AT KEY STAGE ONE IN ENGLAND

Many factors were taking into consideration on producing the statistical analysis by the Department fir Education’s statistics division. Notable among them were:The phonics screening check is a statutory assessment for all children in year one (aged 6) introduced in 2012. All state funded schools with a year one stream must administer the checks. Pupils who fail to meet the required standard in year one are to be tested by the end of year two (age 7). The rationale for the Key Stage One (KS1) assessments is to measure pupil’s attainment against the levels set by the national curriculum. Greater emphasis is placed on the extent to which pupils have specific skills, knowledge and understanding which the national curriculum expects pupils to have mastered by the end of KS1.

Highlights of Achievements for the Checks in 2013


  • 69% of year one pupils met the expected standard of phonic decoding, an increase of 11% points over the previous year’s report. 
  • 85% of pupils at the end of year 2 in 2013 met the expected standard of phonic decoding. 
  • The 2013 key stage 1 (KS1) teacher assessments show that the percentage of pupils achieving the expected level has continued to increase in all subjects. 
  • The 2013 key stage 1 (KS1) teacher assessments show that the percentage of pupils achieving the expected level has continued to increase in all subjects. 
  • Girls continue to outperform boys in terms of the percentage of pupils reaching the expected level atKS1. The biggest difference is in writing with a gap of 9 percentage points, 1 percentage point lower than in 2012. 
  • The 2013 key stage 1 (KS1) teacher assessments show that the percentage of pupils achieving the expected level has continued to increase in all subjects.


Criteria for Compilation



Many factors were taking into consideration on producing the statistical analysis by the Department fir Education’s statistics division. Notable among them were:

  • Level
  • Gender
  • Ethnicity 
  • English as a first language 
  • Free school eligibility 
  • Special educational need (SEN) 
  • Income deprivation affecting children index (IDACI)

Improving Behaviour And Attendance In Schools: Sunday, 20th September, 2013

IMPROVING BEHAVIOUR AND ATTENDANCE IN SCHOOLS

Teaching and learning thrive on an environment that allows both teachers and pupils to share and learn without fear and intimidation. It has been reported by the Department for Education that, poor pupil behaviour is the greatest concern of new teachers and a common reason why experienced teachers leave the profession’. The department has therefore published a policy document that will empower teachers to have confidence and feel supported in dealing with behaviour and attendance issues. The overriding aim of the policy is to ensure that discipline is treated with all seriousness in schools and also to provide backing to teachers in maintaining order during school sessions.

Maintaining Discipline in schools


Reforms according to the department of education will look at the following steps to ensure that teachers have the necessary powers to maintain discipline at all times in schools.


  • give staff stronger powers to search pupils
  • remove the requirement to give parents 24 hours’ written notice of detentions after school
  • clarify teachers’ power to use reasonable force
  • give staff simplified advice on how to prevent and deal with bullying


Improving Attendance in schools


The department in its bid to improve attendance in schools will seek to enforce reforms through the following measures.


  • provide staff with revised advice on school attendance
  • increase the penalty notice fine levels for school attendance and shorten the deadline to pay the fines
  • tighten regulations on term-time holidays
  • propose to introduce legislation giving academies the power to prosecute parents in relation to school attendance.

The Way Forward!


Maintaining discipline in schools requires a multifaceted approach that needs the attention of policy makers, head teachers, teachers, parents and pupils. Teaching should be conducted in a peaceful atmosphere to help pupils lay a solid foundation in their education, career and life. And more importantly, all children should grow up in a supportive and stable environment.

Ways To Save Money For Your School: Sundayy, 20th September, 2013

WAYS TO SAVE MONEY FOR YOUR SCHOOL

Procurement plays a vital role in the success of every school, as the right goods or services procured at the right quality and place will always help in the development of a child. Basic rules of procurement aim to ensure that public funds are spent openly and fairly, and make the most of every budget, while protecting you against legal challenges, financial penalties and damage to your school's reputation.

Areas to watch for potential savings: 


  • Energy
  • Administrative supplies
  • Grounds Maintenance improvement
  • Telephony Details on these potential savings could be obtained from the DFE website or check with your local authority or visit the government procurement service or use one of the Pro5.


Public Sector Buying Organisations 


These are organisations that are set up with the aim of delivering value for money through combined buying power and procurement expertise for commonly bought goods and services for all public sector organisations including schools. Notable among them are:

  • Pro5 – comprising Eastern Shires Purchasing Organisation, Central Buying Consortium, YPO and the North Eastern Purchasing Organisation. 
  • The Government Procurement Service also helps in catering for the procurement needs of all public sector institutions.

Department Of Education Gives More Support For Special Needs Teachers: Sunday, 20th September, 2013

DEPARTMENT FOR EDUCATION GIVES MORE SUPPORT FOR SPECIAL NEEDS TEACHERS

The department for education has awarded scholarships worth £3,500 each to over 500 teachers and special needs (SEN) support staff. The overriding aim for the award is to help the staff concerned to develop and improve their specialist knowledge and skills.

Key Features of the scholarship


  • £950 awarded this year to successful applicants.
  • Total amount spent over the last 3 years amounts to £3.7 million. 
  • Scholarships have been awarded to 303 SEN teachers and 113 SEN support staff.
  • 98 English, Maths and Science teachers have also been supported over the years.
  • Successful teachers study courses such as Advanced Certificate in Special Education: Autism (children) and MA specific learning difficulties – Dyslexia.


Award criteria


The award is based on merits and other criteria as indicated below:



  • Priority subjects – maths, English, science and SEN.
  • Ample evidence to suggest that teachers who apply for the scholarship will have access to resources and to carry out their studies without any hindrances.
  • Academic qualification – ability to study to a master’s degree level and


DO YOU QUALIFY FOR THE AWARD?


  • You should work in an eligible school in England.
  • Spend at least 50% of your time supporting pupils who have special educational needs and disabilities in learning based activities.
  • Achieved qualifications equivalent to, at least, full level 3 or hold a higher level teaching assistant status.

Priority School Building Programme (PSBP): Tuesday, 20th August, 2013

PRIORITY SCHOOL BUILDING PROGRAMME (PSBP)

The on going spending cuts and review has seen many school projects abandoned. The government in its bid the restore some faith in the schools infrastructure development, introduced the Priority School Building Programme (PSBP). The PSBP is a centralised mechanism of addressing the needs of schools most in need of urgent repairs. The main aim of the programme is to rebuild 261 schools or have their needs met. The programme works in collaboration with privately financed public private partnership (PPP). According to the Department of Education, this approach of limited capital funding is to ensure more disciplined way of managing the department’s capital budgets. However, the question remains as to whether all areas in need of infrastructural development could be addressed through this approach?

Progress so far?

  • Between 2011 and 2012, the government allocated £2.7 billion to local authorities towards the provision of new school places.
  • £2.8 billion slated for maintenance of school estate for schools and academies.
  • £1.1 billion in additional funding to address the need for new school places.
  • 587 schools applied for programme on their basis of their condition need.
  • 261 schools to be re-built, or have their conditions met.
  • Unsuccessful schools to be catered for through other funding sources.
  • New schools under construction projected to be completed by 2014.


The Programme at a glance


  • Repairs and construction in schools only made in areas where they are most needed to save cost.
  • More disciplined approach to managing the department’s budget.
  • Savings made by driving down cost of new schools and reducing procurement times.
  • More schools expected to benefit as a result of savings made from programme.
  • Ensure delivery of efficient, faster and less bureaucratic approach to building schools.


Qualified surveyors visiting all schools that applied for funding for repairs or new buildings.

Government Announces Targeted Capital Funding For New School Places: Tuesday, 20th August, 2013

GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCES TARGETED CAPITAL FUNDING FOR NEW SCHOOL PLACES

The Targeted basic need programme was launched by the government to help boost school places in areas where they are most needed. The programme started in March with the overriding aim of providing additional funding for school places. As a result of this initiative, local authorities were invited to bid for new schools or given the opportunity to expand an existing outstanding and good schools. The programme according to the Minister for Schools Rt. Hon David Laws, is to ensure that ‘every pupil should not just have a place, but that the growth in the system is, as far as possible, concentrated in schools that parents and pupils really want to go to’.

Key Themes of the Programme


  • Over £5 billion allocated to local authorities for new school places over the current spending period.
  • £1.9 billion was spent for the same purpose during the previous spending period.
  • Funding projected to provide 417,000 places by 2015.
  • 190,000 school places expected to be created by September, 2013.
  • Basic need allocations of £1.6 billion provided to local authorities to keep pace with projections of demand.
  • Targeted basic need Programme will provide an additional £820 million to fund 74,000 quality places.
  • Further 500,000 places to be funded by 2020 – 2021.


How to Source for the Fund

  • Local authorities to apply for additional new places.
  • Local authorities to bid for funding for new schools.
  • Local authorities to expand existing outstanding and good schools.


What is in store for Parents and Schools


  • Parents to have the liberty of sending their kids to schools of their choice and convenience.
  • Avoiding overcrowding in schools.
  • Provision of quality education to all pupils, especially with the introduction of the free schools.
  • Deprived areas needing urgent attention in terms of basic education well managed and catered for.Type text here

New School Curriculum: Saturday, 10th August, 2013

A Look At The New School Curriculum


The government recently published a new national curriculum for schools, the sweeping changes to how pupils in primary and secondary schools will be taught was referred to by the secretary for education as ‘tough and rigorous’. The main aim of the published document according to the minister is to equip pupils in the country to compete effectively with other pupils across the globe. However, some teachers and other stakeholders in the education sector have criticised the government’s proposed time table for its implementation, branding it as too tight and without much consultation to all parties concerned with education in the country.


Main Themes of the new Curriculum


  • The new curriculum to be introduced in state schools in England from 2014. 
  • It applies only to state maintained schools in England, Academies and free schools are not required to follow the new curriculum.
  • Pupils in years 2 and 6 (ages 7 and 11) will continue with the old curriculum in maths, English and science as the new SATS to be held in summer 2015 will not have been revised in time to include the new curriculum.
  • Secondary pupils in year 10 (age 15) in 2014 and year 11 (age 16) in 2015 will also continue with the old stage 4 curriculum core subjects in maths, English and science as GCSE exams in the named subjects will not be ready in time to take account of new curriculum.
  • Schools have more choice over which languages they can teach.
  • Teaching of spoken language skills restored.
  • Five year olds to be allowed to create their own computer programme. vGCSE to be redesigned to reflect in the new changes.
  • In maths, five year olds will be taught in their first year to read and write numbers up to 100; count in multiples up to 10.
  • Year one pupils expected to do basic fractions.
  • The new curriculum to be more demanding than the previous one. The way Forward?

The Prime Minster hailed the newly published document as the only way for England to keep abreast with the changing tide in education across the globe. However, critics have labelled the new material as:

  • Ignoring the need of pupils with learning difficulties. 
  • Implementation being rushed. 
  • Introducing a two tier system of learning as free schools and academies are at liberty to ignore the contents of the new curriculum.
  • Not much emphasis on climate change.

School Dinners Increased Funding: Thursday, 18th July, 2013

Government Plans to Increase Take-up of School Dinners.


The nutritional needs of school children towards their educational development and growth cannot be overemphasised. The government in its bid to increase the level of school dinner intake tasked a group of experts to look into ways children could be encouraged to partake more in school dinners. The report considered opinions of teachers, parents, caterers and food nutritionists with the view of obtaining balanced view on how to increase participation of school provided dinners. The plan needed to correct the erroneous impression held by most parents that packed lunch which mostly contain junk foods is the healthiest option to school provided nutritious dinners.

The report highlighted key facts that needed urgent consideration towards the overall wellbeing of children across the country:


  • Parents spent over £1 billion a year on packed lunches.
  • About 75% of the packed lunches contain sugary drinks, sweets and savoury snacks, with only 1% of those meals meeting the government set nutritional standards.
  • Almost 20% of children are already obese by the time they leave primary school.
  • Over 57% of school children bring their own packed lunch to school mostly made up of junk foods.
  • School dinner intake across the country has sunk to an all time low.


Plan of Action provided by the Report to Government.


  • The department of Education to provide £16.1 million over the next two years to help struggling schools with their lunch service and to provide health breakfast to children that arrives at school hungry. 
  • Headteachers to reduce the prices of school meals, offer discounts to needy pupils to encourage more participation. 
  • Teachers urged to eat with children in the dining hall to encourage greater participation. 
  • A stay-on-site rule for break and lunch times. 
  • Help parents with after school balanced diet cooking lessons. 
  • To ban sugary drinks, crisp and confectionery, offer prizes to children that bring healthy meals to school. 
  • Cooking to be included in the curriculum for all children up to the age of 14. 
  • The government to consider carefully the extension of free school meals entitlement.


The quest to provide a healthy mind in a healthy body continues, however, greater urgency is needed by parents in ensuring that school children are provided with the needed healthy meals at home and also encourage their kids to participate in the government’s efforts in providing healthy meals to all children.

Scams: Thursday, 18th July, 2013

HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF/ SCHOOLS FROM FINANCIAL SCAMS

Scams cost the UK economy a total of £3.5 billion a year according to the Office of Fair Trading (OFT). The same institution also reckons that about 45% of the UK population are targeted by scams. The recent financial crises has led to many individuals who are struggling to make ends meet to fall victims to fake jobs, debt scams and training programs.

Schools are not exempted from this menace that has plagued our society. Scams come in different shapes and forms as detailed below:

  • Emails
  • Phone calls and text messages
  • Letters
  • Knocking on doors
  • Internet


Identifying Scams

  • Receiving letters, e-mails and calls out of the blue.
  • Asked to pay money in advance.
  • Offered a prize without any purchase of a ticket.
  • Pressurised to respond quickly to a mail, e-mail without given you the time to think about it.
  • Offer sounding too good to be true.
  • Never heard about what is being offered.


How to Protect Yourself and Schools from Scams


  • Shred all documents with personal or bank details on – don’t just throw it away.
  • Never give out contact details like your name, address or phone numbers to strangers or to organisations that should already have these details.
  • Never give out bank card numbers, sort code and account numbers or any financial information to strangers or to businesses that should already hold your details.
  • And always if in doubt about any mail, e-mail or phone call, just don’t reply it. Bin it, delete it or hang up.
  • Do not send money to someone you do not know.
  • Aggressive sales offers? Should be avoided at all times.
  • Always resist the temptation to make decisions straight

However, if you or your school falls victim to fraud please do not hesitate to call the action fraud hotline to receive a police crime reference number.


Pupil Premium increased By £1.2 Billion: Thursday, 18th July, 2013

HOW TO UTILISE PUPIL PREMIUM EFFECTIVELY IN SCHOOLS

The main thrust of the Pupil Premium as introduced by the government, was to help in eliminating the disparities in reading and writing in primary and early secondary schools. However, since its inception, the outcome for the programs stated objectives seems to be far from being achieved. For example it has been reported by the department of education that around one in five primary school pupils leave the basic level of education without the requisite standard of knowledge in reading and writing for that age group. The question is, how could all stake holders in the provision of basic education in the country ensure that the government’s planned increase in spending £1.2 billion on the scheme in the next two years help in bridging the gap in reading and writing in primary or early secondary school.

The Side effect of not using Pupil Premium effectively:


  • Pupils will have difficulty coping with the secondary school curriculum.
  • Without a sound foundation in reading and writing, pupils progress in life will be severely hampered.
  • The cost implications are high, as secondary school teachers will have to spend greater effort and time in ensuring that pupils are able to catch up with their peers.
  • Could lead to pupils dropping out of school all together


What needs to be done!

  • Structured targeted support for children fallen behind in reading and writing.
  • Schools to ensure that the new £600.00 allocated for pupils on free school meals is well sourced and utilised for all needy children.
  • ‘Catch-up Premium’ which is £500 per pupil could also be used in helping children with English and maths issues in secondary schools.
  • Members of staff should be encouraged to participate fully in the program to ensure could be allocated to pupils who actually need help with improving their basic level of reading and writing skills.


The Way Forward!


The department for Education has recently reported that only 23% of pupils failing to achieve the required standard in reading and writing in primary school were eligible for free school meals, however, the same report also indicated that only 26% of pupils eligible for free school meals were low attaining. This contrast in statistics leaves schools in a dilemma of how best to use their allocated resource for Pupil Premium. The question is do schools spend the money on pupils with learning needs or concentrate on providing free school meals to kids that cannot afford meals? Schools should concentrate on ensuring that the learning needs of all pupils are considered on a case by case situation with the view of not leaving any pupil behind in education.

Financial Efficieny In Schools: Wednesday, 22nd May, 2013

Financial efficiency in Schools


Financial efficiency is widely seen as a natural focus for all involved in the financial management of schools. In 2010 the then DCSF conducted a research on financial efficiency in schools and sampled 8 group discussions and 12 depth interviews with head teachers, bursars and school business managers on Financial efficiency in schools.

The response was that all agreed that financial efficiency involved spending money wisely, yet there was little agreement beyond this. To a large extent the disagreement happened from differences in view between those with a business background and those with a public sector stance. Some argued that it was their responsibility to invest any surplus back into school services and others thought schools should be run like a businesses and cut cost accordingly. A widespread concern was the fact that salaries formed the majority of all budgets and many felt that they were left with so few funds after salaries that they had little flexibility to make any substantial changes.

As salaries dominates many schools budget, often those responsible for financial management duties find it difficult to concentrate on other areas of efficiency, therefore compromising other areas as they are perceived as unlikely to make a substantial difference.

An area that sometime goes unnoticed is procurement. According to the DCSF research many thought it difficult and lingering to achieve any major savings in procurement, as a result most were satisfied to work with Local Authority procurement departments. While this saved time and effort, few felt they were getting the best deals; in some cases they found working in this way unnecessarily prolonged and bureaucratic.

In 2011-12 financial year the total school spending, for all Local Authority maintained schools in England, was £32.3 billion (gross) and £17.4 billion (53.9%) was spent by primary schools (which included a number of primary schools with nursery classes).

According to the Department of Education statistical figures released in January 2013, of the £17.4 billion spent by primary schools £8.7 billion (50.0%) was spent on permanent and supply teaching staff (excluding agency supply teachers and supply teacher insurance costs); £2.9 billion (16.4%) was spent on education support staff; £1.9 billion (10.8%) was spent on other school staff and £4.0 billion (22.8%) was spent on running expenses.

By focusing on all areas of school spending, significant efficiency savings can be achieve non-salary cost, particularly running cost.

To find out more about identifying opportunities and delivering solutions for financial efficiency in your school please contact us. Our team of professionals is dedicated to identifying opportunities and delivering solutions to reducing school’s running cost.

School Governing Body: Sunday, 19th May, 2013

SCHOOL GOVERNING BODY

The governing body has general responsibility for the conduct of the school with view to promoting high standards of educational achievement. This general responsibility gives rise to a wide range of specific responsibilities which in turn require the governing body to establish a range of procedures. The School Governance (Procedures)(England) Regulations 2003, as amended, provide the statutory requirements for governors procedures. Many of the requirements and responsibilities placed on governing bodies are covered by legislation and well defined by guidance and recommended procedures. The Department recommends that for other procedures, the governing body develops a set of standing orders. In carrying out its day-to-day work, the governing body should give consideration to certain procedures the Department requires or recommends it follows.


Key Responsibilities


  • Constitution of the governing body and instrument of government.
  • Allowances and expenses for governors.
  • School prospectus.
  • Complaints (general and curriculum).
  • Committees’ formation, delegation and operation.
  • Meetings of the governing body and its committees.
  • Register of business interests of governors.
  • Standing orders and terms of reference.


Decision Planner


A governing body is accountable in law for all major decisions about the school and its future. The nature of the work load calls for diligent organisation, involving the setting up of committees and delegating tasks to these committees, and in some instances to individuals. However, Governors remains wholly responsible for any decision that is made under delegation.

Levels of Legally Delegated Functions by Governors


Budgets



  • Approve the first formal budget – Full governing body. A committee of governing body.
  • Monitor expenses - Full governing body, committee, Individual gov., Head teacher.
  • Charging and remissions policy - Full governing body, committee Individual gov., Head teacher

Staffing



  • Headteacher appointment - Full governing body.
  • Deputy headteacher appointment - Full governing body.
  • Appoint other teachers - A committee of governing body, Individual gov., headteacher.
  • Pay discretions - Full governing body, A committee of governing body. Headteacher.


Curriculum

  • National Curriculum application - Full governing body, committee, Individual gov., Head teacher.
  • Establish Curriculum policy - Headteacher.
  • Implement curriculum policy - Headteacher.
  • Standards of teaching - Full governing body, committee, Individual gov., Head teacher.

Admissions



  • Admissions policy - Full governing body, committee.
  • Applications decisions - Full governing body, committee.
  • Appeals on admissions - Full governing body, committee.


Discipline/ Exclusions



  • Establish a discipline policy - Full governing body, committee.
  • Exclusion policy - Full governing body, committee.
  • Re-instatement - Full governing body, committee.

Procurement in Schools: Wednesday, 15th May, 2013

Procurement in schools


According to DFE (Department for Education) every year, schools collectively spend approximately £9.3 billion in areas other than teaching staff. Procurement makes up a significant proportion of school’s budget.


Significant savings can often be made in procurement, which can be reinvested in the school’s priorities for teaching and learning. If you shop around for your school, you’ll notice that prices can vary considerably. The table below illustrates the difference in prices for a simple glue stick:


Glue stick price comparison


Order Method

Supplier Own Brand

Market Leading Brand

Catalogue

7p, 39p, 51p, 68p82p
Internet70p, 73p, 99p
E-marketplace9p86p

The prices in the table vary from 7p to 99p. Shopping around in this case leads to a saving of almost 93%.


Schools have autonomy over the use of their budgets and so it is for heads and governors to determine at school level how to secure better value for money. There can be significant variations in procurement between similar schools, and so it’s important for schools to review their current procurement process, compare it to other schools, and think about how to make improvements.


Based on a strategic partnership with your school we can develop innovative tailored Procurement Services for your school and benchmark your school’s spending against other similar schools in details.


The main aspects of the service provided by us include: -


  • Core Service - which includes procurement advice and guidance in accordance with public sector and legislative requirements.
  • Procurement Training - is available at various levels to suit all skill and knowledge bases - including practical workshops.
  • Contract engagement – Our dedicated team of experts can research on the types of procurement available and its viability for your school.

School League Tables: Sunday, 14th April, 2013

SCHOOL LEAGUE TABLES

The dreaded school league table was introduced to publish academic performance of pupils in schools and to compare and improve educational standards. The coalition government upon assuming office set up a threshold of 35% of pupils achieving five GCSCs at Grade A – C including English and Maths. However a recent report by the exams watchdog ofqual has shaking the very foundation of compiling the league tables.

The future of the School League Tables


The secretary for education is set to announce in May, 2013 a complete overhaul on how the tables are structured and calculated. This change has come about partly as a result of a damming report issued by ofqual and a recent grade boundary shifts that resulted in many grades being downgraded leading to legal actions. The exams watchdog’s criticisms of the existing league table included the following:


  • Over marking of pupils to improve standing of pupils and schools image.
  • Teachers focus too narrowly on one group of pupils.
  • Pushing pupils at all cost to gain grade C.
  • Some teachers re-writing course work for pupils.


Other Observations


Competition in any shape or form breads some actions on the part of some unscrupulous individuals who will stop at nothing in ensuring that goals are achieved at all cost. Some educational expert have argued that, instead of publishing school league tables, rigorous subject and general school inspection will help improve performance and also encourage subjects such as religious education, music and physical education that are not part of the Government’s English Baccalaureate but are important to the development of pupils to be given the needed attention. On the other hand, head teachers should also be encouraged and given all the needed resources to improve both academic and the overall well being of all pupils under their care. In effect, accountability should be a watch word for heads of schools, not league tables. Until the Secretary of State of Education comes out with his policy statement regarding the nature and future of league tables we will continue to watch this space.

School Accounts: Thursday, 11th April, 2013

SCHOOL ACCOUNTS

As part of the Consistent Financial Reporting Regulations (CFR) introduced in April 2003, schools are required to submit a return through their Local Authorities to be forwarded to the Department for Education. However, schools are no obliged to publish their accounts. The returns submitted by schools forms part of the wider picture for the schools’ financial bench marking website. In January, 20011 the government published for the first time, all schools’ CFR data for 2009-10 as part of the Transparency Agenda for all schools.

Key Facts about School Accounting


  • Maintained schools required to follow laid down processes and procedures implemented by Local Authorities.
  • Follow the School Standards and Framework Act 1998.
  • Schools should have in place accounting systems that allow them to properly record and monitor expenditure throughout the year.
  • Any amount made available by a local authority until spent remains the property of the authority.
  • Governing bodies and head teachers are regarded as the agents of a local authority with regards to school finance administration.


Financial Reporting Process For Schools


  • The submission prepared by schools and forwarded to local authorities forms the basis of preparing annual financial accounts for schools.
  • Income submission will include all funding received from the LA.
  • Charges received from rentals, and charges for the usage of school properties. 
  • Fundraising and other contributions / donations received by the school. 
  • Notable expenditure will include: lighting and heating, school trips, transport, salaries, Depreciation, administration cost etc.

School Charging Policy: Wednesday, 10th April, 2013

SCHOOL CHARGING POLICY

One area in school administration that raises many questions for parents and school staff is the issue of charging for school activities. To reduce the confusion and the questions that often arise out of this, the Department for Education has come out with a policy document that seeks to answer many issues arising out of this thorny topic. Sections 449 – 462 of the Education Act 1996 sets out detailed policies on charging and remission for school activities and school visits.Schools are to ensure that parents on low income and in receipts of the benefits listed below are informed about the support available to them, when asked contributions towards the cost of school visits.


  • Income Support
  • Income based Job seekers allowance
  • Support under part vi of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999.
  • Child Tax Credit, provided that Working Tax Credit is not also received making families total income exceeding £15,575.00.
  • The guaranteed element of State Pension Credit.


MAIN THEMES


The main issues addressed by the policy are covered under the following topics:



  • Activities
  • Residential visits
  • Transport
  • Education partly during school hours
  • Non-residential activities.
  • Music Tuition


Residential Visits


The following activities cannot be charged by schools as prescribed by the policy:



  • Education provided on any visits during school hours
  • Education on any school visits outside school hours provided it forms part of the National Curriculum or part of syllabus for a public exams as well as religious education.
  • Cost of supply teachers that accompany pupils on visits outside schools as a result of absentee teachers.

The following activities are chargeable.



  • The board and lodging associated with visits, however, the charge should not be more than the cost incurred.


Music Tuition


The policy document on charges clearly indicates that education provided during school hours is not to be levied on parents, however music lessons provided outside the essential part of the National curriculum or a public examinations administered to pupils is chargeable. For example if parents agree with school authorities for extra lessons for a child or group of children outside the school scheduled music lessons, the school is obliged to charge for those extra lessons.

Transport


Schools cannot charge for the following related transport activities.


  • Transport provided in connection with an educational visits.
  • Transport for examinations where the pupil has been prepared by the school.
  • Transporting registered pupils to other premises approved by a governing body or a local authority.
  • Where the local authority has a statutory obligations to provide transport for such visits.


Non Residential Visits


An activity is deemed to have occurred during school hours and exempted from charges on non residential visits, if 50% or more of the time spent on that event occurs during school hours. Time spent on travel counts in this calculation if travel occurs during school hours.

However, if less than 50% of the time spent on an activity falls during school hours, it is deemed to have taken place outside school hours.

School Funding Arangements: Friday, 8th February, 2013

SCHOOL FUNDING ARRANGEMENTS FOR 2013/14

The Department for Education announced the school funding settlement for 2013/14 in December 2012; the key highlights included the details of the local authority (LA) Dedicated Schools Grant allocations and the illustrative allocations for the Pupil Premium.

The Dedicated school Grant allocations for the year under review has been split into three main blocks of funding, namely:

  • Schools Block
  • Early Years Block
  • High Needs Block


The Department has indicated in this year’s funding settlement that, the Early Years Block will be allocated based on the 2013 spring school Census. However, the Schools Block will be continued to be funded through the 2012 autumn census. The Pupil Premium will also be based on the spring census.

Dedicated Schools Grant – Early Years Block


The 2013/14 Dedicated schools Grant allocation for Early Years Block will be based on pupils attending LA maintained nursery, primary and secondary schools and academies going through recoupment. The following are the pupils that will be considered for the early years block:



  • pupils aged three at 31 December 2012 (born between 01/01/09 and 31/12/09) in all year groups Full Time Equivalent (FTE); PLUS
  • pupils aged three at 31 August 2012, but four by 31 December 2012 (rising fours) (born between 01/09/08 and 31/12/08) in all year groups (FTE); PLUS
  • pupils aged four and above as at 31 August 2012 (born on or before 31/08/08) in National Curriculum Year Group N1 and N2 at the time of the census (FTE); LESS
  • Pupils in 1-3 above flagged as being in special educational needs (SEN) units or Resourced Provision and with a statement of SEN (FTE).


Pupil Premium


The pupil premium eligibility has not changed much under the current dispensation, as noted in the 2012/13 settlement, only pupils aged four and over at 31 August 2012 in Reception to Year 11 (or aged four to fifteen where National Curriculum does not apply) in LA maintained primary, secondary and special schools, City Technology Colleges, academies (including Free Schools) and pupil referral units (including alternative provision academies and alternative provision Free Schools) who are known as Service Children Ever or FSM Ever will be eligible for the Pupil Premium.

The criteria used for the calculation of the Premium will be the same as the one used for the Dedicated Schools Grant with due consideration to the Duplicate Report (funding for unresolved duplicate UPNS will be halved). As with the Dedicated Schools Grant, pupils whose registration status is 'C', 'M', ‘F’ and ‘O’ from the School Census and Pupil Referral Unit (PRU) Census are included (although ‘F’ and ‘O’ enrolment status are only relevant to PRUs) and, for pupils aged four, FTEs are calculated based on the ‘Funded Hours’ recorded in the census (not the full-time/part-time indicator) and include those also with registration status 'S', up to the free entitlement.

Deprivation Pupil Premium


This will be allocated based on pupils on roll in January 2013 that have qualified for the free school meals (FSM) relating to any pupil level census from summer 2007. Each eligible pupil will be attracting £900.00 This historical eligibility will be determined centrally by the Department by using the National Pupil Database (NPD) to map on the history of FSM eligibility for each pupil on roll in the January collections to determine the actual numbers of ‘Ever FSM’ pupils eligible for the Pupil Premium.

Service Child Pupil Premium


The 2013/14 Service Child Premium will be based on pupils recorded on roll from January 2013 School Census that falls under the following category:
  • recorded as a Service child in either January 2011, January 2012 or January 2013; or
  • in receipt of a War Pension Scheme (WPS) or Armed Forces and Reserve Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS) pension from the Ministry of Defense (MOD) as a result of injury, illness or death caused by Service.
  • Pupils eligible for the Service Child Premium will be attracting £300.00.

Budget: Tuesday, 5th February 2012

BUDGET

A budget is a financial plan that sets out, using figures on a school’s expected future results. It gives a clear financial path for the school to follow. Schools are required by the Department for Education to clearly set out their financial plan (budget) in conjunction with local authorities in before the beginning of the financial year so that a clear intent on its expected income and expenditure are known to all stake holders.

IMPORTANCE OF BUDGET TO SCHOOLS


  • Sets out a clear plan, involving target figures for a given period.
  • Communicates targets clearly to budget holders.
  • Motivate staff to achieve set targets.
  • Control performance by monitoring actual outcomes against planned targets.
  • Help in meeting the school’s overall set objectives.


PROPOSED TIMELINE FOR SCHOOL BUDGET SETTING


JANUARY (income consideration)


Calculate what resources may be available to the school in the next financial year.



  • Calculate the impact of the likely pupil number changes on the base allocation (i.e. at current price levels).
  • Estimate the possible balances at the end of the current financial year to be carried into next year.
  • Estimate likely income (e.g. lettings) that can be generated in the next financial year.
  • Identify other possible sources of funding e.g. Pupil Premium.
  • Consider the possible impact on the school’s budget allocation of the overall changes (cuts and/or growth) in the DSG available to the Council.
  • Consider the impact of changes to the Fair Funding formula being considered by the Council.

FEBRUARY (Expenses consideration)



  • Ensure that Personnel data on SIMS is up to date and accurate.
  • Consider the spending commitments of the school covering staff and non-staffing areas.
  • Question whether any of these can be reduced to make resources available for other priorities and the timescale for reduction, e.g. it is likely that staffing changes cannot be introduced before September.
  • Consider the budget implications of the initiatives within the School Improvement Plan. Prioritise this list and identify those which can be met from funding outside the school budget.


MARCH (Budget Setting)


Reconcile your initial estimates with the actual budget allocation provided by the Authority

Projected income;
Estimated balances from previous year;
Review of the Schools Development Plan;
Staffing plans.


PROMPTS FOR SETTING UP A SCHOOL BUDGET


  • Pupil numbers (about 80% of allocated budget is based on this)
  • Trends over the last two years including intake trend.
  • Relationship between previous estimates and actual numbers.
  • Possible major changes in preceding year e.g. local housing changes.
  • Possible year group and sizes.
  • Ensure pupil data is prompt and accurate.


SIMPLE GUIDE ON HOW TO CONSTRUCT A SCHOOL BUDGET

Based on the pupil numbers from the PLASC data, a school will be in a position to start collating their budget. The income received from DSG and pupil premium can be reconciled to the LA funding allocations.


Model Budget plans may include the following:



  • Projected income
  • Estimated balances from previous year
  • Priorities identified in the school’s development plan.
  • Staffing Plans.
  • Forecast the likely income and expenditure relating to the school based on historical data (school’s own previous budget, input from the local authority and the department for education)
  • Once the figures have been established, budgets should be allocated for various income and expenditure headings by the head teacher or the finance officer.
  • Budget should always be created through consultation involving all divisions of the school through a thorough input from all budget holders for a given period.
  • All capital expenditure likely to be incurred in furtherance of the schools objectives should be included.
  • The budget must be in place before the commencement of the period that it relates to.
  • Should relate to a defined period of time (usually 12 months).
  • Budget should never be seen as a one off exercise, but as an on-going financial exercise involving monitoring as soon as it is approved.
  • Submit budget proposals to governing body for approval before the beginning of the financial year.
  • Notify LA of the formal school budget as soon as it is formally signed off by the governors.
  • The headteacher should profile the budget and forecast cash flow to take account of likely spending.

PUPIL PREMIUM UPDATE: Thursday, 10th January, 2013

PUPIL PREMIUM 2013 – 14

The Pupil premium introduced in the academic year 2012 -13 has seen significant changes in the current year (2013 -14)


KEY FEATURES


  • Total amount allocated for the premium will amount to £1.875 billion
  • The premium for disadvantaged pupils in years from Reception to Year 11 will rise from £600 to £900 from April 2013.
  • An eligibility criterion for disadvantaged pupils is based on the January 2013 Census showing pupils on Free School Meals.
  • Children who have been looked after continuously for more than six months will also receive £900 in premium.
  • The service child premium will increase to £300 per pupil.
  • £50 million has been earmarked to fund a summer school programme for disadvantaged pupils to assist their transition to secondary schools in September, 2012.


INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT 2013-14 PUPIL PREMIUM


Schools have the free will to decide how to spend the money allotted for the premium based upon the needs of the pupils who qualify to receive the funding, however, schools are held accountable through the following by the department for education.



  • Performance tables
  • Ofsted inspection framework and
  • The new online reports to parents from September 2013
services arrow icon

Why Us

Rupert Jones Finance Ltd is a new dynamic company providing financial services to schools. All our services are managed and delivered by a team that has a wealth of experience and, more...

icon

Compliance

Spending and expense control are critical indicators on whether an entity is likely to remain within budget allocation whilst maintaining a high level of service delivery, more...

icon

Core Values

Rupert Jones Finance Ltd tailor services to meet the individual needs of your school, whether you require Cover for Sickness/Governors or full bursarial support, more..

icon

Pricing

We offer a varied range of Financial Service Packages in accordance to your individual requirements, more...

downloads arrow

Download our guides to help you get the best out of your business. These files are coming soon so check back again.

Copyright © 2018 Rupert Jones Finance

Website powered by BT


Website powered by BT