Financial Resilience Forum 2018

    Published: 29 November 2018

    Over 100 headteachers, governors and school business managers attended Herts for Learning’s (HfL) Financial Resilience Forum on Tuesday 27th November.

    The half-day event, building on from the MAT Forum last spring, featured a range of speakers who provided an insight into how schools can effectively make the most of the budget they have, as well as plan for the short-term and long-term future.

    Delegates had the chance to listen to Tanya Arkle, Deputy Director of Academies Programme (South) DfE Education & Skills Funding Agency, who spoke about how schools can make sure that they are making every pound count towards improving pupil outcomes.

    She looked at the key elements that support good financial health including effective and efficient deployment of staff, strategic financial planning for the longer term (3-5 years) and skilled staff responsible for managing finance.

    Tanya, who is responsible for academy funding in the South West and South East of England, also explained the impact of the School Resource Management Adviser (SRMA) pilot that was run in 2017/18 academic year. 

    SRMAs offer expert and tailored advice on how schools and trusts could make best use of their revenue and capital to deliver the best possible outcomes for their pupils. Following the success of the pilot, 160 SRMAs are to be recruited nationally in order to extend the service to more settings.

    In October, HfL successfully won a DfE bid to provide 20 SRMAs to work with schools across Hertfordshire, and the eastern regions including Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire and London Boroughs.

    Delegates were also able to attend a selection of financial workshops offering advice and information on a local and national level.

    Consultant and trainer, Darayus Wadia explained how governors can be clear about their role and responsibility for finance in their schools to ensure financial sustainability.

    Stuart Gardner, CEO, Thinking Schools Academy Trust, spoke about the recipe for financial modelling and curriculum planning in tough financial times, as well as talking about the successes that the Thinking School Academy Trust has had.

    Stephen Robinson, School Business Manager at Hemel Hempstead School and accredited DfE SRMA, discussed the key themes and challenges that lead to schools finding themselves in financial difficulties.

    Speaking after the event, Donia Knott, School Business Engagement Manager, said: “This vital event provides school leaders (finance leaders, governors and headteachers) the opportunity to network, learn and debate the financial challenges schools are facing. We were incredibly pleased to see a great turnout and pleased to see how engaged they were with each of the speakers.

    “The HfL Business Management Services team are always wanting to listen to any school – whatever size or location. We are already busy planning some further inspirational and thought-provoking forums, and other business services to schools and academies.” 

    The next forum, entitled Leadership Forum will feature Martin Post, Regional Schools Commissioner for North-West London and South-Central England. Bookings for this event, held at Rothamsted Conference Centre on Tuesday 12th March 2019, can be made using course code 18SBM/035A.

    If you would like to give your feedback, regarding topics for future events, please contact HfL’s Business Management Services team at

    We are now recruiting experienced School Business Leaders to join HfL as a SRMA

    An exciting opportunity has arisen to join Herts for Learning as a DfE accredited SRMA to provide support to schools in our region to help them develop financial efficiencies and provide advice on the improvement of school business leadership and operations. You will be deployed to schools or trusts identified by the DfE to carry out a review of systems and processes in order to inform a strategic improvement report. Email Donia Knott for further information: or visit HfL’s ‘Join our Team' page.

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