Preparing Your School Budget
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Preparing Your School Budget

Preparing a school budget can be a tricky thing to get right. It’s a complex and involved process to ensure that all aspects / departments are covered and receive the correct amount of money. This not only needs to be right for your Governors and employees but the students as well. A school budget is important to show how much money the school has to operate and how much it spends. This should be done every year and forecasted for the future. In this blog we’ll be answering some obvious and not-so-obvious questions that you might have about school and academy budgets.


Why do I need a school budget?

The most obvious, but also perhaps most important reason for having a school budget, is so that the school can track how much money they have and where this is being spent. You can also see where more money may be needed. Each department within a school has different needs which change over time. Consistently monitoring your budget will help you with understanding those needs and identify any gaps.

You can also use the previous year’s budget to forecast what the likely expenditure will be in the coming year. This can help ensure the school has enough money, but it can also show where money can be used to improve resources or improve quality. For example, it is quite common that schools budget for the forthcoming year to exclude teaching assistants, yet when funds are unlocked the school needs to supply teaching assistants from agencies which are more expensive. Clever budgeting can solve this issue.


What can else school budgets be used for?

It’s standard practice to budget for schools, so don’t overlook or underestimate that the budget can be used as a strategic tool.

School budgets can be used when creating formal and informal audits, determining variations caused by enrolment, monitoring performance and evaluating the school’s success in implementing the budget itself. The budget is an invaluable resource for analysing how well your school is doing. While not a complete picture, it can provide great supporting evidence in a gap analysis.


Where schools can receive their funding

Schools can generate their funding from 4 main sources. This is critical to understand and know where and how much is coming from each when school budgeting:

  • Delegated funding – for example the school’s grant.
  • Devolved funding – comes with conditions on how the money can be spent.
  • Capital funding – can only be used to improve a long-term asset for example upgrading buildings.
  • Revenue funding – should be used within a year for example on salaries


Stages of creating a school budget

  1. Create a timeline – creating a school budget requires you to know exactly what monies are coming in, where this is needed and a whole load of calculations. This isn’t just a 5-minute job, and it may be time consuming. This is why it is a good idea to create a timeline to work towards to ensure that you meet deadlines.
  2. Annual revenue – this needs to be established taking into account grant, funding and any money the school generates.
  3. Stakeholder funding – the school can also establish and gather funding from stakeholders such as the Government or Churches.
  4. Assign the money – forecast where you believe the money will be needed and spent in relation to the requirements of that department and how many children / staff are there.
  5. Submit this to the board
  6. Submit this to the local council


Shop smart

We all like to get value for money. With the Cost of Living increasing it is becoming more of a necessity these days. School budgeting is not just preparing the budget but ensuring that we stick to this as much as possible.

Some quick tips to possibly getting a better deal are:

  • Buying in bulk.
  • Partnering with other schools in purchasing.
  • Annual contracts.
  • Day-to-day purchasing.
  • Leasing equipment.


How Wurkplace can help

We here at Wurkplace do not only offer Health and Safety and Human Resources advice and resources, we also off Payroll outsourcing. Our qualified team can run your payroll for you – one less stress, right?

Schools budgets play a big part in understanding how your school is operating. If you are interested in more than payroll, we have partners who offer financing options, or an operational audit, you can speak to us. Talk to one of our experts today using our quick contact form, or call us directly on 0330 400 5490.

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