Statutory guidance

Schemes for financing schools

Statutory guidance for local authorities on producing and amending school financing schemes.



This statutory guidance is for local authorities.

Local authorities are required to publish schemes for financing schools, setting out the financial relationship between them and the schools they maintain.

This guidance explains the provisions a scheme must include.

Statutory guidance sets out what local authorities must do to comply with the law.

On 17 July, we published the ‘Financial transparency of LA maintained schools and academy trusts’ consultation response.

We have updated the statutory guidance on schemes for financing local authority maintained schools for the 2020 to 2021 financial year with the changes within this consultation response that were delayed due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Due to delays caused by COVID-19, and in order to provide schools with sufficient notice to comply with the new requirements, the changes to Issue 12 of the scheme for financing local authority maintained schools will take practical effect from 1 April 2021.

The changes in this issue of the scheme include the requirement for local authority schemes to include a requirement for schools to submit a 3-year budget forecast each year, and the directive for schools which have a deficit of over 5% to submit a recovery plan to the local authority.

The changes relating to financing and operating leases (IFRS16) that were due to come into effect on 1 April 2020 have been delayed until 1 April 2021, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A further update to the scheme for financing schools will be published prior to any changes taking effect.

We thank all local authorities for their continued hard work to support the country and keep people safe during this pandemic.

If you have any questions, please contact us at

Published 26 March 2013
Last updated 5 August 2020 + show all updates
  1. We have updated the guidance to include changes following the publication of the 'Financial transparency of LA maintained schools and academy trusts' consultation response. The scheme now includes the provision for schools to submit a 3-year budget forecast each year, and a recovery plan if their deficit rises above 5%.

  2. We have updated the schemes for financing schools guidance for the 2020 to 2021 financial year.

  3. New version of 'schemes for financing schools' added.

  4. Updated sections 4.8, 4.10 and Annex B following changes to legislation about balances of closing schools, redundancy and early retirement costs and a directed revision to loan schemes.

  5. Updated to include admissions appeals in the list of services local authorities can charge maintained schools for.

  6. Updated document to directed revisions concerning the publication of a register of governors’ business interests and the categorisation of finance leases.

  7. Updated guidance document.

  8. First published.