Monthly Archives: October 2012

Financial Management and Governance Self-assessment (FMGS)

The government has produced the new shorter -Financial Management and Governance Self-assessment (FMGS) –its part of the EFA continuing focus on reducing the administrative burden on academies. It replaces the Financial Management and Governance Evaluation (FMGE)

FMGS

The DfE on-line guide indicates a new CFR income category for 2012-13

The DfE on-line guide indicates a new CFR income category for 2012-13. If you are a school that receives income within this definition then you will need to ensure that the information is recorded appropriately;

I18 Additional grant for schools

Includes:

  • Includes:

    1.Secondary schools to release a PE teacher to work with local primary

  •  2.schools Schools participating in phonics pilots Schools participating in the
  • 3.new opportunities programme who have Advanced Skilled Teachers / Excellent Teachers
  • 4.Funding for maths specialist teacher trainees

    Excludes:

    Any other source of funding or income for the above activities

Further information can be found at:  see link

UK Border Agency requirements for bringing overseas-trained teachers to the UK

UK Border Agency requirements for bringing overseas-trained teachers to the UK:

 

For schools, academies and local authorities who employ or may wish to employ teachers who are nationals of countries from outside of the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland and require permission to work in the UK;

  • From      1st November 2012 the Department for Education will no longer act as the      sponsor of migrant teachers in academies. The sponsor role will be      undertaken by academies themselves; and
  • From      6th April 2013, schools, academies and local authorities will pay for the      Certificates of Sponsorship directly to the UK Border Agency on-line. The      current charge is £179 per certificate.

Further information can be found at:  Link

 

Testimony – School Business Manager

‘The experience and Knowledge that Annal Nayyar has brought to our school has been invaluable. I am now confident that we have a robust financial offering that will support the school as we move forward. Annal is extremely supportive and I know that I will receive a speedy and accurate response to anything I ask. Having his resource available certainly means I can spend more of my time looking at other areas of school support. He attends all our governor meetings and has regular   dialogue with the Headteacher – we work as a team and it’s a resource we cannot do without. I would recommend Annal Nayyar and his team to anyone.’ School Business Manager – Infant School

Funding Formula 2013-14- EFA submission deadlines

Please take note of the various deadlines which will allow you to plan for the 2013-14 budget build:

All local authorities are to submit their proposed formula to the EFA by 31 October 2012.

The EFA will then look to review the formula and naturally compare to the previous version and the allocations to each of the school phases. There may be some dialogue between the EFA and the Councils over the following 6-8 weeks – in terms of clarifying the proposed formula.

The ‘final’ deadline which incorporates the October 2012 census pupil numbers and all changes as a consequence of any dialogue etc. is 18 January 2013.

The above deadlines will ensure schools have the maximum time to set robust budgets for the forthcoming financial year and ensure appropriate input from all stakeholders.

Government to review school funding plans

 

This article will be  useful for finance managers .

The Department for Education has agreed to keep a close watch on controversial funding reforms after councils warned they could force the closure of small schools.

A senior department official told LGC this week that it would “advise ministers on making any necessary adjustments” after concerns were raised about plans to simplify the school funding regime.

The review will open next year as councils implement the reforms, under which locally set school funding formulas will be replaced by one set centrally.

The DfE will monitor the effects of the reforms in 2013/14 and recommend changes for the following year should the reforms have damaging consequences, the department official added. A “fundamental switch’ back to a local funding formula was not on the cards, he added.

News of the review comes after Conservative leaders of several large councils spoke out against the reforms, warning that they would strip authorities of crucial decision-making powers and threaten the future of schools in rural areas.

Under the reforms, councils will have to allocate the same amount of lump-sum funding to all schools. Local school funding formulas – which are based on up to 37 factors – will be abolished and replaced with new formulas based on 12 factors, set by the department.

Many councils use a local factor to compensate small schools for the low levels of per-pupil funding they receive, and would no longer be able to do this.

A letter from the department announcing the review, seen by LGC, says: “Some authorities have reported to us their concern about the change in budgets produced by the introduction of a simpler formula.”

It adds: “We will be carrying out a careful review in early 2013 of the impact of simpler local formulae.

“We will work with local authorities to explore the effect of different factors…This will enable us to advise ministers on making any necessary adjustments to prevent unacceptable consequences for schools.”

The letter also said the department would extend its minimum funding guarantee, under which no school will lose more than 1.5% per pupil in funding, beyond 2014/15. Councils had raised concerns that they would be hit hard when the guarantee ended. However, the letter did not say how much the guarantee would be worth.

Ian Parry (Con), cabinet member for finance, education and skills at Staffordshire CC, one of the councils that raised concerns about the plans, described the review as a step in the right direction.

“We’ve managed to get this concession from the government as a direct result of pushing them to reconsider their reforms and the impact they would have on our schools”, he said. “We’re pleased that they’ve pledged to review the impact of the reforms in 2013-14.

“However, I still urge the key decision makers to look at the bigger picture on this. These reforms do not take into account the diverse school landscape we have here in Staffordshire, and do not stop the fact that some schools will enjoy big increases to their budgets at the expense of others. Extending the funding guarantee is putting a sticking plaster solution on the problem

Pupil Premium-Ringfencing

I read an interesting article from the Ofsted inspectorate which clearly suggested that schools that fail to keep good use of the pupil premium could lose discretion on how they spend it.

In September 2012  Ofsted surveyed 262 schools and basically asked how they were using this money and what difference they could evidence this was making in the lives of pupils.

A major weakness was that these funds were not separated from the schools DSG and other funding streams.

Thus if you require support to help avoid the above pitfall and general support in ring-fencing such expenditure  ,aligned  to pooling together the service deliverable this additional money has brought about please contact Annal Nayyar.

Draft letter from EFA to academies about financial returns 2011-12

Just in case business managers have not picked up the latest information – please find a  letter that provides the latest position covering the 2011-12 ‘return’

 

Dear Colleague

I am writing to let you know that I have decided to defer the submission date of the Accounts Return from December 2012 to the end of January 2013.

From your helpful feedback it is clear to me that this Return, which we sent to you earlier this month and which is being completed by all academies preparing statutory accounts for the 2011/12 academic year, is likely to put some of you at risk of not completing your statutory accounts on time.  I know that this has been exacerbated by the delays in getting the form of the assurance opinion agreed – this is now finalised and will be available on the website this week.  I hope that deferring the submission date for the Accounts Return to January 2013 will allow you to focus on and complete your statutory annual accounts on time by the end of this calendar year.

I am acutely aware that it feels that the burdens of academy status are increasing and diluting the financial freedoms announced with the publication of the new Academies Financial Handbook (AFH).  The accounts return has followed a demanding series of other financial returns and changes to the assurance regime and I want to explain some of the background to this as well as setting out how I intend to improve things by working with you.

I am absolutely clear you must be free to use your independence to best effect in delivering excellent teaching.  I am also clear that there must be strong accountability for the use of public funds.  The recently issued revised AFH sought to strike that balance.  It strengthened some aspects of the accountability framework within the context of offering more flexibility of approach, whilst introducing significant new freedoms.

We are looking at every opportunity to simplify the arrangements further, whilst delivering even more freedoms for academies.  Making further progress in this direction, however, does require us all to demonstrate that we can make the existing regime work.  The National Audit Office has in the past commented on the number of academies that have failed to meet the deadlines for returns set by the Department and on the quality of some of those returns.  In some cases this has included a failure to submit the statutory accounts on time.

It was within this challenging context that we had to secure agreement on all the freedoms in the new AFH.  This is in part why some of the returns were issued to you later than I would have liked, and certainly later than will be the case next year.  I did agree in recognition of the late issue that grants should be available to enable you to buy professional help in preparing some of your returns where they were submitted on time.  I am pleased to say that, so far, the majority of academies have submitted valid returns by the deadline, a clear demonstration of a joint commitment to accountability.

Looking forward, we will continue to work very hard to make sure that the Department’s business cycle supports academies and not the other way round.  To that end we are putting together a case that will allow us to use your August accounts in our accounts (which are produced at the end of March) rather than asking you to prepare an additional return in March each year.  The accountants tell me this is unprecedented but I am determined that we should start from the principle of academies operating a financial cycle that supports your business.  A number of you are helping us to prepare that case by preparing a second set of accounts.  In future, I aim to ensure only academies that opened too recently to prepare academic year accounts will be asked to prepare a one-off consolidation return for the financial year ending March.

I have also asked Simon Parkes, my Director of Finance and Maintained Schools Funding, to reconvene a reference group of academy finance directors and business managers.  I want this group to advise us all on the content and timing of future returns.  We will consult on the date academies are best able to submit a budget forecast for 2013/14.  We will also consult academies and professional bodies on the accounts return for 2012/13, ensuring that this return is the absolute minimum needed for our accounts.  We will continue to issue guidance and hold seminars but these will be shaped by what you tell us is useful and will take place earlier in the year.

Getting the right balance between flexibility and accountability is always going to be a challenge.  Every perceived failure in an academy will increase the pressure to strengthen accountability arrangements and you will, rightly, continue to press for increased flexibility.  Between us we must find a regime that achieves that balance and I look forward to working with you to do precisely that.

 

Education Funding Agency

clinet links

Annal Nayyar and his collegues provide  education finance  support to  Infant schools - please take a moment and check out the various testimonies attached. Feel free to contact us for a list of services we offer.

Will there be a Pay Offer 2013-14?

I have been reading various articles that suggest that the three-year council pay freeze could end next year as council employers look to speak to unions.

The Local Government Association has written to council chief executives on this point.

Keep tracking this blog for more news …..

Annal Nayyar