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HCSS Education makes life easier for academy Finance Director

Lostock Hall Academy is a small 550-pupil secondary that completed the academy conversion process in 2011. 

On the outskirts of Preston, the school’s most notable alumnus is the straight-talking Lancastrian Tim Farron, who currently leads the Liberal Democrats in Westminster. 

CFO oversees six academy conversions in a year with HCSS Education tools

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Based in West Yorkshire, the Inspire Partnership Multi-Academy Trust (MAT) is a new but fast growing MAT under the careful financial management of Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Hayley Hill. 

Budget expected to benefit free schools and grammar schools, despite funding shortfall across the board

THE chancellor Philip Hammond is expected to announce a one-off payment of more than £300m in tomorrow’s budget for grammar schools and free schools, despite the much publicised funding shortages reported by head teachers. 

The news comes as plans to potentially lift the grammar school ban are reportedly being looked into by the government amid rumours of a ‘grammar school revolution’.

Council action groups warn MPs of the economic dangers of underfunding

SECRETARY of State for Education, Justine Greening, has been encouraged by a city council action group to invest in education in order to prevent school budget cuts. 

The group, which contains London Councils and Core Cities UK, represents local authorities in the UK.

In a joint letter to Mrs Greening, the two groups have warned that funding cuts in schools could potentially be damaging to the economy long term, especially in light of the new National Funding Formula (NFF).

A day in the life of a multi-academy trust CFO: Hayley Hill, Inspire Partnership

The role of school finance is changing rapidly as more schools across the country make the switch to academy status.

As academies are in charge of their own finances, the task of managing payments, wages, and keeping track of income and outgoings falls to their in-house accounting teams.

At the Inspire Partnership Multi-Academy Trust in Wakefield, this task falls into the very capable hands of Chief Financial Officer, Hayley Hill. 

HCSS Accounting making “everything far more efficient” at multi-academy trust

Bolton Impact Trust is a multi-academy trust (MAT) based in the outskirts of Greater Manchester, in Bolton. Just under a year old, the trust is comprised of five academies, four of which are pupil referral units catering for children who are unable to attend mainstream school. 

The MAT cares for 252 children across five schools: Youth Challenge, Lever Park, Young Mums, Park School and the Forwards Centre. Having launched on 1 April 2016, the trust has been under the financial supervision of David Smith and his small team. 

Specialist accountancy software speeds up budgeting and simplifies reporting for academy

Before converting to academy status in 2013, Fareham Academy sourced many of its back office services from Hampshire County Council. As with many converter academies, separation from the local authority's support services created a number of financial management challenges.

Louise Walker, Fareham’s Finance Manager, was thrown in at the deep end, forced to learn quickly and to speedily find an accounting platform.  

With little choice, the school ended up with a generic system that was more suited to the needs of a giant corporation than the needs of a small academy. 

Changes afoot with the Budget Forecast Return

In the last e-bulletin before Christmas, the Education Funding Agency (EFA) announced changes to the Budget Forecast Return (BFR) process, which will affect academy trusts in 2017.

In previous years, academy trusts have had to submit a BFR by 31 July; some trusts were selected to submit a second in autumn 2016 however.

HCSS Education’s school and academy budgeting guidance 2017/18

It is budget time, the time of year that business managers and finance directors go into overdrive in checking, planning, negotiating, and most importantly, balancing all the numbers that underpin the smooth running of schools and academies.

This year, significant numbers of school and academy budget plans will be written in a tough financial context. A new National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) poll found that two-thirds (72 per cent) of school leaders believed that their budgets would be unsustainable by 2019.

School budgets crisis - NAHT report

The National Union of Head teachers (NAHT) has once more warned of the ongoing dangers of the current education budget crisis in their 2016/17 report, released recently.

In the report, titled Breaking Point: A Report of School Funding in Crisis, the NAHT used responses from 1,102 head teachers and school business managers to highlight their current concerns.