Given the prospect of reducing school budgets, strategic financial planning will be critical for secondary schools. ASCL have developed a Strategic Financial Management planning software tool to provide senior school managers and relevant governors with a strategic financial overview for five years.
This software has been developed based on the experiences of working with a number of secondary schools, and in running training programmes, on strategic financial planning. It has been developed from, and is a significant enhancement of, the software currently available free to ASCL members on the ASCL website.
Using a series of interlinked Excel spreadsheets, the software links curriculum planning data to the staffing requirements and feeds this information into the school budget. It allows a school to model changes to its curriculum and investigate the impact on staffing requirements and hence on the budget.
The software can also be used to set limitations on the staffing levels, given the school budget. The spreadsheets enable modelling on a range of other areas including student roll numbers and variations in non-staffing budget lines. The financial information is based on the standard CFR codes but a school that does not use CFR can apply these codes as equivalents to codes in a different system.
The workbook is easy to use and comes with a full guide on the CD and some other useful spreadsheets for the school to use for planning purposes. Information is provided not only in tabular form but also in graphs so that the impact of changes can be easily followed.
The programme can be used interactively in meetings to quickly demonstrate the effect on the overall budget of a number of specific adjustments, for instance, teaching staff, support staff, utilities, capitation, and IT.
Working on the basis of average staff cost the summary sheet displays an in year balance and cumulative balance for each financial year together with other data such as pupil teacher ratio and budget line proportions in the form of a report.
A range of different budget scenarios can be set up for future years and these can be used to determine the actions that a school may be required to take in order to establish a balanced budget position.
An email helpline will be available for basic queries on the operation of the spreadsheet.
Restrictions: This workbook does not deal with capital funding in any way. It is assumed that capital funding is ring fenced to capital projects and has no overlap with the revenue budget. The software is not designed to give absolutely accurate answers; it provides the appropriate level of detail for strategic financial planning.
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The ASCL SFM Planning software workbook will be available from 1 February 2011 at a cost of £300+VAT. Advance orders received by Friday 21 January will receive a 10 per cent discount (cost of £270+VAT).
Orders can be emailed to SFMsoftware@ascl.org.uk or sent to
130 Regent Road
Please include your name, full address, invoice address (if different from previous), email address, contact telephone number, order number and quantity required