The Department for Education (DfE) has published new guidance to help governors and senior staff manage resources efficiently.
The guidance explores key areas such as staff pay, class sizes, and school improvement plans – and can be used in the annual budget planning cycle and when looking ahead at the 3 to 5 year position.
Governors can also make use of DfE’s school financial benchmarking service to compare spending with other schools in similar circumstances and to see if spending can be more efficient.
School resource management is a core area of responsibility for governors and can represent a considerable challenge. Key questions for governors and senior staff to consider, include;
1. Staff pay as percentage of total expenditure
- What percentage of the budget is spent on staffing compared with similar schools?
- How does the percentage for teaching staff, curriculum support staff and other support staff compare with other similar schools?
- What is the overall staff cost as a percentage of total income? Staffing costs over 80% of total income are considered high.
2. Class sizes
- What class sizes does your school aim to achieve – and what is the educational reason for this?
- Are there any small classes where the per pupil funding does not cover the cost of delivery? This can be especially important at key stage 4 and 5 where class sizes for some subjects can fall.
- Do you know the maximum average class size that the school can operate at within the context of the pupil admissions, the structure of the building, the numbers in different year groups and the need for intervention strategies?
3. School improvement plans
- Are school improvement initiatives prioritised, costed and linked to the budget?
- Are all new initiatives fully costed before your school is committed to the proposal?
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