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Value for Money Statement

Posted in Information, News on December 13th, 2013 by

Value for Money Statement

Year to 31st August 2013

Academy trust accounting officers (the Principal in this school) are required to complete and sign a value for money statement in respect of the period ended 31 August each year.

The purpose of the statement is to provide us with an opportunity to demonstrate to parents and the public that the academy’s use of public assets and funds has provided good value for money during the year and to identify opportunities for potential improvement.

What is value for money?

Value for money is about achieving the best possible educational and wider societal outcomes through the economic, efficient and effective use of all the resources in the Academy’s charge.

What have we done?

Improved educational outcomes: Staffing structures, targeted support and action to support and stretch pupils, collaboration, new initiatives and budget changes, quantative improvements.

• We are implementing a more robust teacher appraisal system which was rolled out by the Acting Principal during 2012/13

o An improved performance appraisal process has led to a greater awareness of expectations for teaching standards and greater consistency in the management of those standards. There has been improvements in the effectiveness of teaching outcomes and pupil attainment, as measured by the most recent Ofsted inspection outcome (where the school was judged to be ‘Good’) and published data on attainment alongside better internal monitoring and reporting on student progress and attainment to Governors

• Restructured the Academy Leadership Team – including consideration of the financial implications of strengthening the leadership of the Academy between August 2012 and January 2013

o To improve the resilience and capability of ALT to continue to lead and deliver the Academy’s Priority Objectives

• Instigated an on-going staffing review: 2012-13 focus on developing subject leads (also see comments on Curriculum changes below)

• Implemented curriculum changes: e.g. Introduction of single subject Science GCSE. Decision to drop BTEC and German during 2012-13

• Started work on a Teaching Assistant/ Special Educational Needs review of effectiveness and response to proposed funding changes for 2013-14

o Funds allocated to support individual pupils. SEN funds used for additional hours for effective and targeted learning support (based on evidence based good practice guidance). Inset sessions introduced for learning support staff. Teaching and Learning Co-ordinator will be supporting class teachers to have time with Learning Support staff to plan for the most effective use of resources and contact time in the classroom.

Better Procurement and Savings Initiatives

• Review of Administration, Finance and Support Staff March 2013

o Restructure proposals identified by the Review Group identified £26k of potential savings. The structural changes have now been implemented and savings built into the 2013/14 and 2014/15 revenue budget.

• Non-teaching costs review (benchmarking)

o In November 2012, the Academy’s Internal Auditor reviewed recurring non-teaching staff costs (consumables and services), including books and materials

• Active Management of Outstanding Debt on School Meals and Materials

o More robust cash flow forecasting and robust but fair debt collection

• IT Infrastructure upgrade and options appraisal, February – March 2013

o Improving the Academy’s management of future financial risk of high cost or unplanned expenditure on IT and the risk of business continuity failures

• Catering and audit contract retendered

o Cost and quality mix considered with improvements in service and savings achieved (audit contract)

• Consideration of School Transport Options re. minibus replacement and operation of routes by the school

o Self-financing school transport provision

Income Generation

• Charges and Remissions Policy review

o Building confidence, transparency and working with the whole school community

• Fundraising: Set up of Funding Focus Group in 2012, with two governors, Business Manager and parents to address Friends funding target, identified by the budget shortfall

o Sustainability and to address current year budget gaps and shortfall in funding

Internal Controls and Risk Management

• Internal audit provision (8 days a year) to provide assurances to the Finance Committee on the Trust’s system of internal control

o Internal audit assurances on all key controls delivered as part of an agreed annual audit plan. The audit plan is risk based and provides assurance on both financial and non-financial systems of control, including procurement, information security, governance arrangements and risk management

• Internal Budgetary Control: approved scheme of delegation and financial rules and procedures, internal audit checks

o Effective controls over staff and non-staff expenditure are evidenced through internal audit work and reports. Payroll controls are reviewed at least annually. Plans for use of remaining Start Up Grant funds have been considered by Premises Committee from an initial “wish list”, each requests is prioritised and monitored against actual spend by the Business Manager

• Academy Risk Register

o Established in 2011 and used to inform the budget setting process and forward planning by ALT and Governors

• Cash flow and Treasury Management

o Investment of surplus funds in Lloyds 3 month fixed rate deposit account, although there is currently a very low rate of return. Options for future investment of surplus funds are being investigated, including ethical investments

Lessons Learned

• Learning Support lessons – informing the Teaching Assistants review

o TA review is challenging how limited resources are deployed to maximise use of a limited resource with an honest assessment of what’s worked and what hasn’t

More information

Further information showing the evidence for the above statements along with positive actions and action points going forward can be found on the following VFM Framework and Evidence Map.

The Statement of Accounts for 2012/13 is published on our website and contains details of the school’s objects and aims, further information about Priority Objectives and Strategic Reviews for 2012/13, achievements and performance and plans for future periods

Steve Cox

Academy Accounting Officer

12th December 2013


For a pdf of this statement please follow the link – Value for Money


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The Steiner Academy Hereford, Much Dewchurch, Herefordshire, HR2 8DL | Tel: 01981 540 221 | Email:

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