Guidance

Compare your school or trust's budget: financial benchmarking

Benchmarking allows you to check how your finances compare with other similar schools or multi-academy trusts.

You can compare your budget with schools or trusts in similar circumstances (benchmarking), to see if spending could be more efficient.

You can:

  • identify schools or trusts that are similar to yours, or with similar challenges
  • compare your school or trust’s spending with similar schools or trusts
  • compare the staffing structures of your school or schools within your trust with similar schools
  • find contact details for similar schools or schools within similar trusts

Benchmarking helps you plan

For school budgets, there are 4 main cost areas:

  • staff
  • premises (for example, building maintenance)
  • occupation (the cost of occupying the school building, for example, energy and water)
  • supplies and services (for example, stationery, books and examination fees)

Benchmarking helps you:

  • look at spend in these areas overall, as well as sub-categories of spend
  • compare your spend with other similar schools (or academy trusts)
  • inform your school development process

Benchmarking helps you make changes

Benchmarking helps you to consider how to use your resources to support high-quality teaching and the best education outcomes for your pupils.

Benchmarking helps you to connect with other schools or trusts to discuss challenges and successes. This can help you consider whether:

  • your resource allocations are working for you
  • you can improve outcomes by doing things differently

Limitations of benchmarking

Benchmarking is only a guide. Some schools or trusts may find themselves at the lower or upper extremes of the data. You should consider other things you know about your school when assessing the data.

To share more data, you can join a benchmarking group through your school, academy trust, local authority or school business managers’ network.

Published 12 January 2016
Last updated 24 September 2018 + show all updates
  1. Amended to make it clearer that this applies to both schools and multi-academy trusts.
  2. Added link to new schools financial benchmarking service.
  3. Updated to add sample benchmarking report card.
  4. First published.