Academies budget forecast return

Information to help academy trusts submit their budget forecast returns to the Education and Skills Funding Agency.

Academies budget forecast return (BFR) 2018; accessing the online form

Please use this link for the BFR online form. The deadline for academy trusts to submit their completed BFR is 30 July 2018.

Please note, you can only assign one role per person to work on the BFR. If the approver also prepares the return, they don’t need to be assigned separately as a preparer.

The online form uses the IDAMS registration service and trusts must be registered and set up to use the service before they can access the form.

Read this guide on how to register and set up the online forms for the BFR.

The deadline for academy trusts to submit their BFR 2018 is Monday 30 July 2018. This form will use the same login process as the BFRO return. This year the BFR will ask trusts to provide 3-year forecast data. We have published this academy trust guide to 3-year budget forecast return (MS Word Document, 56.2KB) to provide some advice on compiling data.

We’ve published the detailed guidance for the BFR form as well as the Excel workbook with guidance to help academy trusts prepare their BFR return. This includes further information about the 3-year forecast. We will not accept Excel workbook submissions - we only accept completed online BFR forms.

This is also in an Open Document Source BFR 2018 workbook guidance (ODS, 208KB) .

We have created a general introduction video to help explain the academy budget forecast returns process.

Academy budget forecast introductory video

New academy BFRs

New trusts or established trusts that opened new academies in either May or June 2018 should include their new academies in the trust’s annual BFR.

New academies that open in July 2018 should not be included in the trust’s annual BFR.

In August, we’ll launch a new online BFR form for new academies. Trusts will use this for academies that open from July 2018.

We’ll write directly to all trusts with new academies to confirm arrangements.

Academies budget forecast return outturn (BFRO) 2018

The BFRO collects financial outturn information as at the end of March each year and the 2018 collection has closed. ESFA uses the information provided to ensure that the academy sector can accurately report its financial data to HM Treasury. We’ve produced these guidance documents and a video which explains more about the BFRO form.

BFRO 2018 guidance video

Weekly Skype calls

From 27 June 2018, we’re hosting weekly dial-ins every Wednesday from 1pm to 2pm to help trusts complete their BFR return. If you have any queries and you want to speak to the team, please join the Skype calls.

If you use Skype, you can access the meeting via this link: Join Skype Meeting

If you don’t use Skype, you can dial 0203 321 5238 and, when prompted, enter the meeting code 7596 8164.


If you have any questions about the BFR, please contact us using our online enquiry form below. Please put ‘BFR’ at the top of your enquiry so we can quickly direct your question to the relevant team.

ESFA enquiries

For all enquiries for the Education and Skills Funding Agency

Published 28 February 2018
Last updated 21 June 2018 + show all updates
  1. Updated to add the link to the online form and the guide to completing the budget forecast return (BFR) 2018. The deadline for academy trusts to submit their completed BFR is 30 July 2018.
  2. We've published the BFR 3-year Excel workbook and guidance document for trusts to help them to prepare for their BFR return, the deadline is 30 July 2018. The form will go live on 21 June 2018.
  3. We have updated the page with a document explaining more about the BFR 3-year forecasts
  4. We have updated the budget forecast page with an introductory video to help explain all of the budget forecast returns that we collect.
  5. We have added a budget forecast return outturn guidance video to help users complete their return.
  6. Updated to include information about weekly BFRO Skype dial-ins for trusts that take place each Wednesday between 1pm and 2pm throughout April and May.
  7. Updated with the link and guide to completing the online form for the academies budget forecast return outturn, which academy trusts submit by Monday 21 May 2018.
  8. We have updated the academies budget forecast return outturn 2018 workbook templates.
  9. First published.