Coronavirus: DfE cancels academies' May budget forecast

Academies will no longer have to submit next month’s budget forecast return, after the government cancelled the collection because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Normally, academies have to submit a budget forecast return outturn (BFRO) in May each year. The form was due to be made available to schools to fill in from next week.

But in a message to the sector, seen by Schools Week, the Department for Education said the return, which details the state of academy finances as of March 31, had been cancelled.

The information is used by the department to ensure the academy sector’s financial data can be accurately reported to the Treasury. It is not clear how this requirement will now be met.

The cancellation has since been confirmed in an official update by the government.

Jenny Hill, chief finance officer at Advantage Schools, tweeted this would “help a little getting our workloads back on track after the hours wasted with the FSM (free school meals) fiasco.”

Academies have been told that the budget forecast return three year – an annual return normally completed in the summer – is still currently scheduled to go live on June 23.

The DfE has been approached for comment.