Guidance

Schools financial efficiency: training and peer support

Information about organisations that offer schools support with financial management.

Introduction

This page lists some of the training and peer support that is available to school leaders who want to improve their schools’ financial management and efficiency.

Please note that:

  • this page doesn’t list all organisations that provide training and support for school leaders. Other organisations may supply similar courses that may be suitable for your needs
  • neither the government, DfE nor ESFA endorses the organisations, publications and courses that we’ve listed below. You should not take the information on this web page as an endorsement by the government, DfE or ESFA of any course or training provider
  • schools and academy trusts wishing to do training with any course provider should follow their own procurement processes, and should make sure that any training or support that they choose is appropriate to their needs

Sector organisations

The following provide training and support for school leaders.

Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL)

ASCL is a leading professional body representing school, college and education system leaders across the UK. Its annual conference for school business leaders includes a range of professional development activities on strategic financial management.

Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA)

CIPFA is the professional body for people in public finance. Their services include academy specialists who provide guidance for academies on accounting, financial management and business matters.

Freedom and Autonomy for Schools - National Association (FASNA)

FASNA is a national school membership network that promotes school autonomy and highlights where self-governance has been a success. Among its services for members are training and practical guidance publications for multi-academy trusts (MATs) and all school leaders.

Institute of School Business Leadership (ISBL)

ISBL represents and supports the school business management profession.

Local authorities

Most local authorities offer training in financial management for their local schools and may offer services to other schools too.

National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT)

NAHT is an independent trade union and professional association whose services include direct support and training on finance and resource management.

National Governance Association (NGA)

NGA is an independent charity that supports and promotes good governance in schools.

Teaching Schools Council (TSC)

TSC represents all ‘teaching schools’ and promotes a school-led education system. Teaching schools offer financial management advice and expertise directly to other schools.

Financial planning cycle: training and resources

We’ve grouped the following training and resources into the relevant stage of a 3-stage financial planning cycle.

1. Review your school’s financial efficiency

Business leaders service: support for all business-related issues (ASCL) - in-school training

A consultancy service that helps schools evaluate their business management, and suggests options for development and improvement.

Practical guide to effective financial management (FASNA) - booklet

A guide to all aspects of financial management in schools, particularly for school business managers (SBMs) and governors with an interest in school finance.

Benchmarking - an important starting point for school efficiency (NAHT) - 1-day course

A course to help school leaders understand how their school’s financial performance relates to pupil outcomes and school effectiveness.

New to finance? Hit the ground running! (NAHT) - in-school training

A course for school leaders who are new to financial roles, with practical explanations and links between daily management decisions and finance.

The no surprises approach to budget management (NAHT) - in-school training

A consultancy service that helps school leaders record their current budget performance and plan for the rest of the financial year.

Efficiency guidance and case studies (ISBL) - online resource

A factsheet highlighting ISBL research and resources, including links to sector organisations that support school efficiency.

Financial efficiencies training workshop for governors (National College for Teaching and Leadership - NCTL) - 1-day course

A training workshop for school governors on improving financial efficiencies in schools.

2: Develop a plan to become more financially efficient

Professional development courses (ASCL) - programme of courses

Courses to support school leaders with tasks such as financial management and curriculum planning.

Strategic finance training DVD (ASCL) - DVD

A series of 8 DVDs, with presentations, spreadsheets and detailed notes, to support in-house training in strategic finance.

Financial pressures and financial management (FASNA) - online resource (you need to be a member to access some services)

Resources, including workshops and seminars, to support schools in financial management.

Professional development courses (Outwood Institute of Education) - programme of courses

Courses to support school leaders with curriculum-led financial planning.

Budget setting in difficult times (NAHT) - 1-day course

A course to help school leaders set sustainable budgets based on educational outcomes.

SBMs and strategic plans: ideas to £s (NAHT) - in-school training

A consultancy service to help school leaders develop financial planning skills that support medium-term educational objectives.

School financial health and efficiency (NAHT) - 1-day course

A course to help schools maintain their finances and identify efficiencies.

3. Make changes to become more financially efficient

Professional development courses (ASCL) - programme of courses

Courses to support school leaders with tasks such as financial management and curriculum planning.

Procurement training for schools (DfE and Crown Commercial Service) - online resource

Procurement training sessions for school staff who are responsible for budgets or buying.

Financial pressures and financial management (FASNA) - online resource (you need to be a member to access some services)

Resources, including workshops and seminars, to support schools in financial management.

Closing the financial gap (ISBL) - online resource (you need to be a member to access)

Practical examples of financial management in schools.

Procurement guidance (ISBL) - online resource

Practical procurement advice for school leaders.

Professional development courses (Outwood Institute of Education) - programme of courses

Courses to support school leaders with curriculum-led financial planning.

Longer-term training and resources for school leaders

High potential programmes and national professional qualifications

National professional qualifications (providers licensed by NCTL)

Qualifications that cover the full range of responsibilities for school teachers and leaders, including financial management.

Professional standards for school business management

Standards for school business management professionals (ISBL)

ISBL’s standards for school business management professionals can help school leaders manage and recruit SBMs effectively.

Training for school leaders in multi-academy trusts

The following are some of the courses that are available for senior leaders who want to develop skills to lead and improve efficiency in a MAT.

Building capacity in a multi-academy trust (Cambridge Education)

A course that develops the financial, governance and management skills of existing and aspiring MAT executive leaders.

The business of multi-academy trusts (Cranfield School of Management, Cranfield University)

A programme that helps leaders of MATs overcome complex issues and develop a clear strategy for a sustainable future.

Chief executives programme (The Schools, Students and Teachers Network - SSAT)

A programme that provides training for leaders of established and growing MATs on the role of the chief executive, including governance, finance and risk management.

Level 7 certificate in school financial and operational leadership (ISBL)

A postgraduate certificate to develop a range of skills in school business management.

Executive headteachers programme (SSAT)

A programme that prepares school leaders for the challenges and opportunities of ‘executive headship’ (running a number of schools), with a particular focus on MATs.

MAT senior leadership programme (King’s College London)

A business and management development programme for current and future leaders of MATs.

MAT Leaders programme (The London Leadership Strategy)

A programme that helps potential and existing school leaders improve MAT business and management models.

Trust-Ed: MAT team leadership programme (UCL Institute of Education and Deloitte)

A programme that helps leaders of medium-sized MATs build strong and sustainable organisations.

Schools financial health case studies

Many schools manage their budgets very well. Our schools financial health case studies show some of the ways in which schools and academies have developed effective financial management practices.

Questions, comments or suggestions

We’d like to hear from you if you have any questions, comments or suggestions about this page or any of the schools financial efficiency content. This includes how we can improve the content and what other materials you would find helpful.

If you are an academy, local authority or post-16 provider, please use the EFA enquiry form including schools financial efficiency in the subject title.

For all other institutions, including maintained schools, please use the DfE enquiry form including schools financial efficiency in the subject title.

Published 12 January 2016
Last updated 24 January 2017 + show all updates
  1. Updated to provide additional links to schools financial efficiency training and peer support.
  2. Updated to add NAHT to the list of organisations.
  3. First published.