According to The Institute of Fiscal Studies, schools have experienced real terms cuts of approximately 8% and for many school leaders, this means that they are experiencing increasingly difficult decisions about how to make sure that every penny counts in terms of outcomes for pupils.
In this challenging financial climate, the importance of medium-term planning and having a strategic financial plan cannot be underestimated. To ensure that these provide an effective management tool, time is needed to evaluate how resources are being used and to scan the horizon for challenges which may impact plans. An early start to the planning process, with continual updates to the plan as and when further information is known, enables timely identification of risks and the financial impact they pose, as well as opportunities to be explored. This can serve as an early warning and allow schools the time to respond effectively.
To help Hertfordshire maintained schools gain an early view of their financial plan/budget for 2019/20, the Herts for Learning (HfL) Financial Services team have recently launched a mid-year update to their financial planning tool, HCSS budgeting software. This update includes useful information on funding levels for years R to 11, as well as details of pay and inflation. As the October 2018 census data will drive the funding in 2019/20, this gives schools an opportunity to update their financial plans with this vital information.
The updated financial planning tool was shared with Hertfordshire maintained schools that buy into the HfL Budget Planning service in mid-October, allowing schools more time than ever to plan their budgets for next year. The HCSS financial planning Bulletin 18 provides full guidance on how to apply the mid-year update, and the assumptions contained within, and is available on the Hertfordshire Grid for Learning website at: www.thegrid.org.uk/info/traded/financial/manuals/fps_advance/
Cheryl Faint, Head of Financial Services at HfL, said:
“Herts for Learning is delighted to announce this added functionality to the HCSS budgeting tool that can really help to support strategic financial leadership in schools. We would recommend that school leaders start to look at their budget next year by looking in detail at how that budget is constructed”
“Inspired by ‘The Great School Framework©’, Herts for Learning’s aspirational vision of the features of a great school, we want to support school leaders in their aim to have a school designed and resourced to support long-term and exceptional outcomes.
“By launching this updated planning tool in October, we have been able to give school leaders more time to think about and plan for the financial choices that they need to make for the next financial year.”
To find out more about this financial planning tool, please contact:
Stephen Luff, Systems Manager, Financial Services Team
Tel: 01438 843299