Government announces expert business advice for school leaders

Schools leaders will receive expert business advice on how best to “maximise their resources and budgets” in a new government scheme.

The pilot scheme is due to be announced by schools minister Lord Agnew at the ASCL conference for business leaders, and will see 40 business advisers offering bespoke business support to schools.

It is run in conjunction with the Institute of School Business Leadership and will run until August 2018 and aims to provide advice to at least 60 schools, before a national roll-out in September.

Twenty-six schools deemed to have the greatest need have been receiving help from advisers since January. Each school is expected to develop a plan to set out how it intends to improve.

The advisers, who have been subjected to a “rigorous assessment process”, will offer tips including cheaper ways to buy essential services like water or electricity and how to timetable classes in order to free up more time for teachers.

According to the Department for Education, up to £1 billion of savings could be made on non-staff spend in schools by 2019-20.

Lord Agnew said the advisers will help to maximise resources and free up more time for teachers.

“How schools use their money is important in delivering the best outcomes for pupils and business leaders are essential in ensuring the cogs of a school keep on turning,” he said. “We know time is precious for school staff and making every penny count is vital.”

Stephen Morales, the chief executive of the Institute of School Business Leadership, said the scheme has already helped to identify “a growing group of exceptional school business leaders” and produced “recommendations for improvement”.

“The lessons learned will be of value to the education system as a whole as we begin to disseminate findings,” he added.