Guidance

Academies budget forecast returns

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

Academies budget forecast return

This year there’ll only be a single BFR online form. We have combined the BFRO and BFR3Y into a single online form. This will go-live on 22 June 2021 with a deadline of 27 July 2021. These are the same timings as the BFR3Y.

This year the single form will require:

  • all the BFRO data as usual - except the debtors and creditors section
  • all the BFR3Y data
  • your academy trust’s 3-year forecast

Please note that all academy trusts must compile longer-term forecasts for their own internal financial planning as required in the Academies Financial Handbook (section 2.11).

The Excel workbook is under development. We will publish this once it is ready and we recommend that trusts use it to prepare for their BFR return later in the year.

The BFR will collect your data based on the academies in your trust at the end of April 2021. This means if you have an academy and you expected it to transfer in or out at a later date, your BFR return must reflect this. The table below shows what you need to include in your BFR based on the month of transfer:

Month of transfer Academy leaving a trust Academy joining a trust
September 2020 No action required BFR to include actuals and forecasts for the academy joining the trust
October 2020 to April 2021 BFR to include actuals up to the point of transfer and from that point onwards BFR to include actuals and forecasts from the date of transfer
May 2021 to August 2021 BFR to include actuals to the point of transferring and remove forecasts from then on BFR include forecasts from the point of transfer
September 2021 onwards BFR to include actuals and forecasts up to the point of transfer and remove forecasts from then on BFR to include forecasts from September 2021 onwards

The budget forecast return online form uses the IDAMS registration service. Academy trusts must be registered and set up to use the service before they can access the form. Please read this guide on how to register and set up the online forms for the BFR.

Academies budget forecast return outturn (BFRO)

This form collects financial outturn information as at the end of March each year. ESFA uses the information provided to ensure that the academy sector can accurately report its financial data to HM Treasury. For this year the BFRO is combined with the BFR3Y form.

Academies budget forecast return three year (BFR3Y)

This form collects financial outturn information as at the end of the academic year. ESFA uses the information provided to ensure that the academy sector can accurately report its financial data to HM Treasury. This return includes 3 year forecasts. For this year the BFR3Y is combined with the BFRO form.

New academy BFRs

Please note that we have ceased the collection of the in-year BFR financial return. New academy trusts and established trusts with new academies should include their new academies in the single BFR form this year.

Questions

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

ESFA enquiries

For all enquiries for the Education and Skills Funding Agency

Published 28 February 2018
Last updated 19 February 2021 + show all updates
  1. We have updated this page to include information about how to complete your budget forecast return if you have academies transferring in or out of your trust.

  2. We have updated this page with information about a single BFR return this year, which will combines both the BFRO and the BFR3Y into a single online form. The combined form will go live in June 2021 with a deadline 27 July 2021. We will publish the Excel workbook for trust's to use in due course.

  3. The BFR3Y deadline has passed - if your academy trust has not yet completed your return please do as soon as possible.

  4. The BFR3Y is now live, please see this webpage for details about the financial return and the BFR3Y login link.

  5. We have added Skype dial-in details for the BFR3Y collection period and published the BFR3Y online form guidance - the form will be available from 8 July 2020 with a deadline of 29 September 2020.

  6. We have published new details about the BFR3Y financial return including an extended deadline, 29 September 2020.

  7. Page updated to confirm that academy trusts are not required to submit the budget forecast return outturn (BFRO) this year.

  8. Updated to include the details for the BFRO collection as well as the BFRO excel workbook.

  9. Updated to remove information about the in-year budget forecast return for new academies as this is no longer required.

  10. We have updated the page to include the latest information for the budget forecast return for new academy trusts and new academies only. We will write to those in scope for this return.

  11. Removed live link to BFR3Y form as submissions have now closed

  12. We have fixed the fault when users submit and get an error message - if you're still receiving this please let us know via the enquiry form on the webpage.

  13. There is a defect on the BFR3Y that is generating an error message on submission for some users. Please ignore this and we are fixing it this evening. Please see the webpage for more details.

  14. The budget forecast return three year forecast form is now live and ready for users to login to complete. The deadline for submission is 30 July 2019. We will holding weekly Skype calls with the sector - please see the website for further details.

  15. We have updated the excel workbook as we had been informed that a formula wasn't working properly. We have corrected and updated this version of the workbook.

  16. We have updated the budget forecast return three-year excel document with a revised version that reduces the amount of detail required for this return. We have made the line ref: 378 in the workbook inline with the last BFRO return.

  17. We have updated this page to include further details about the budget forecast return 3 year and to provide the excel template workbook to help trust's prepare for the return.

  18. Page has been updated with a link to the online BFRO form.

  19. Due to technical difficulties, the BFRO online form will now be available on Wednesday 10 April.

  20. The BFRO online form is now live. This page has been updated with a link to the BFRO online form and a PDF with updated guidance on completing the online form.

  21. We have updated the excel workbook guidance document for the BFRO form. The BFRO will open 9 April and has a deadline of 21 May 2019.

  22. Page updated with information and a link to the online form for the new academy budget forecast return (BFR).

  23. Updated information about academy budget forecast returns for new academies.

  24. 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.

  25. 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.

  26. We have updated the page with a document explaining more about the BFR 3-year forecasts

  27. We have updated the budget forecast page with an introductory video to help explain all of the budget forecast returns that we collect.

  28. We have added a budget forecast return outturn guidance video to help users complete their return.

  29. 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.

  30. 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.

  31. We have updated the academies budget forecast return outturn 2018 workbook templates.

  32. First published.