Schools financial efficiency: the role of the school governor
Information for school governors about their role overseeing the financial performance of the school and making sure money is well spent.
School governors and academy trust members and trustees have an important role in ensuring high standards of achievement for all children and young people in their school.
You do this by:
setting the school’s vision, ethos and strategic direction
holding the headteacher to account for the educational performance of the school and its pupils
overseeing the financial performance of the school, making sure its money is well spent
We know that good financial performance delivers better outcomes. School governors have a duty to oversee the financial performance of the school by asking the leadership team question such as:
how confident are you that school curriculum planning achieves the maximum benefit from funding for the pupils?
has the school reviewed the efficiency metric tool?
how can the school be more efficient with its funding?
Video - the important role of governors
Gillian Allcroft, Deputy Chief Executive of the National Governors’ Association, explains the important role of governors in overseeing the financial performance of schools.
In this video, Gillian refers to 8 elements of effective governance. You can read about the 8 elements, together with other advice and guidance on the National Governors’ Association website.
You can also read schools financial efficiency: top 10 planning checks for governors.
Many of you will be aware that the Education Funding Agency (EFA) provides benchmarking tools for schools and academies. These tools allow schools and academies to compare their income and costs to similar institutions by selecting factors which are relevant to their school.
For example a large urban secondary with a high special educational needs (SEN) cohort would have a different income and expenditure profile to a small rural primary. As funding rates differ by local authority (LA) it is often more informative to benchmark against other schools in the same LA.
Where the information is not available via a benchmarking site or the school type is fairly unique such as a university technical college (UTC), we encourage schools to benchmark by sharing information with similar schools. We encourage multi-academy trusts (MATs) to benchmark similar schools within their MAT and also their top-slice charges with other MATs.
Benchmarking can help you understand where the school’s expenditure is high compared to similar schools.
Do you get benchmarking data and analysis in your school or trust? Do you get enough information to understand why some expenditure lines are relatively high and others are relatively low?
You can read more about financial benchmarking and view information on the financial benchmarking website for maintained schools or the academies financial benchmarking website.
You can find out about schools and other organisations offering support with financial management and efficiency on the schools financial efficiency: sharing best practice page.
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. Please include schools financial efficiency in the subject title.
For all other institutions, including maintained schools, please use the DfE enquiry form Please include schools financial efficiency in the subject title.