Recent research by UK Watchdog has found some local authority secondary schools are facing significant financial pressures, with more than a quarter (27%) of schools reporting deficits in 2019-20, according to the National Audit Office.
Now following almost two years of disruption and with UNESCO figures suggesting the worldwide average school time lost due to COVID-19 related closures is currently sitting at two thirds of an academic year, financial pressures are mounting for educators across the country.
Demonstrating the importance of education and skills in the government’s agenda to build back better and level up, the Autumn Budget announcement brought welcomed investment for schools and colleges around the nation who so desperately need the boost. Chancellor Rishi Sunak committed £1.8bn to catch-up and tutoring classes across England, with £1bn pledged to pupils aged up to 16, and £800m for students aged between 16 and 19.
The CLFP tool, developed in partnership with Outwood Grange Academies Trust, is providing educators with a powerful online hosted solution to support financial planning and manage staffing through efficient and strategic metrics.
The online software offers a range of benefits for education institutions including:
- Benchmarking finances: Benchmark spending and staffing in comparison across schools in trust, providing insights and assisting informed financial decision making.
- Detailed workforce planning: Supporting institutions to deploy staff efficiently, targeting recruitment and enabling workforce planning to manage and achieve targeted teaching group and contact ratios
- Curriculum and subject modelling: Accurately model curriculum and subjects in greater detail, including the ability to compare cost per period from one subject to another
- Quick health check: Gain insightful analysis of a Curriculum Bonus and Contact Ratio, benchmarked against recognised standards allowing institutes to conduct important checks on their planning and management resources
- Managing your school group: A ‘Group Overview’ function, well suited for MATs, gives access to a ‘top-down’ view of all a school’s staffing and financial data
An integrated curriculum planning strategy involves measuring current curriculum, staffing structure and finances to create a three-to-five-year plan based of attained data. Helping educators develop the best curriculum for their pupils with the funding they have available.
The Skills Network’s CLFP tool meets the requirements set by the Department for Education (DfE) in relation to Integrated Curriculum Financial Planning (ICFP), developed to provide the highest quality and most efficient financial planning tool to support educators across the country.
How does CLFP benefit educators and students?
Advance Learning Partnership (ALP) is a not-for-profit Multi Academy Trust consisting of a mix of primary and secondary academies. Their aim is to give children and young people from all backgrounds an outstanding education, providing them with values, skills, knowledge and understanding to prepare them for success both in the classroom and beyond.
The Trust is now entering their third year working with The Skills Network, employing their CLFP software to access financial information planning through a quick and efficient tool. The use of The Skills Network’s CLFP tool replaced a tedious system of gathering curriculum information through various formats, improving efficiency and outcomes of an integrated financial plan for students throughout the trust.
A spokesperson from Advanced Learning Partnership, says: “This software has improved the ability to compare our schools against curriculum and financial KPIs and against the other schools in the Trust, leading to effective discussions and planning with schools throughout the year regarding curriculum and financial efficiency. The increased accuracy using this tool has also given us a greater confidence when it comes to school plans and Trust analysis”
As January approaches it is now extremely beneficial for schools to understand how to best implement CLFP and with the Department for Education making this a requirement for recipients of the Multi-Academy Trust Development Improvement Fund (MDIF), for many this understanding is fundamental.
The Skills Network’s CLFP tool is cloud based, helping educators benchmark spending, support conscious investment choices, increase savings, and enhance learner outcomes.
Paul Sorby, Executive Director of Curriculum at Outwood Grange Academies Trust, says: “After years of development, we’ve finally shared our model to help schools with a robust curriculum and financial tool that is critical year-on-year. Partners we’ve helped in the past continue to use this model; and this software will now allow the whole sector to benefit.”
Sophie Spencer, Head of Education and Commercial at The Skills Network, says: “Our new software, which meets DFE requirements for ICFP (Integrated Curriculum Financial Planning), is specifically tailored to planning within the primary phases and covers all areas of financial planning including your teacher-contact ratio and cost per lesson, the overall view of your schools’ staffing and financial data, comparisons of multiple schools within your group/MAT, full financial and curriculum transparency, guidance on how to plan optimal staffing structures, forecast scenario planning and staff deployment analysis.
“The quality of our CLFP tool is what sets this apart, providing a user focussed experience that improves the efficiency and ease of financial planning, ultimately creating the best learning opportunities for our young people across the country”.