Schools and academies in the South East are under intense financial pressure according to new research, with 55% of leaders here believing their institution is unfairly funded compared to others across the country.
A study of school leaders conducted this month by HCSS Education, a leading education finance specialist, found that for almost two thirds (61%) of schools and academies, managing budgets has become significantly more difficult while 61% say budgeting is the main pressure they face as a leader.
When asked about balancing the books, three quarters of schools and academies in the South East (75%) admitted to dipping into financial reserves in the past three years.
The vast majority (88%) of school and academy leaders in the South East also said the current flat funding structure has impacted their pupils, with staffing cuts being the top contributing factor.
In a bid to make school and academy funding fairer, the Government has committed to implementing the national funding formula (NFF) from 2018-19. It will see some schools receiving increased funding but others facings cuts. When asked about this, half (50%) of school leaders believe the NFF is the most effective way to address financial issues in schools and academies. Nearly half of schools and academies in the South East (47%) anticipate a decrease in funding when the policy is introduced.
Howard Jackson, head of education and founder of HCSS Education, said: “School and academy leaders in the South East are really feeling the effects of increasing costs and uncertainties over future funding. Around half of them have experienced a budget deficit in the past three years and many believe budgetary pressures are impacting their pupils.
“We spoke to leaders from all corners of the country and worryingly the vast majority said they were concerned about the future finances of their school or academy. At the same time, there are steps budget managers can take to forecast robustly and plan ahead effectively. To make this easier, there are a number of financial management tools available that have been specifically designed for the education sector to help school leaders effectively manage their budgets.”
HCSS Education has released this new research to mark the launch of its innovative new accounting software which is currently being used by over 120 schools and academies across the UK. Launched earlier this month, HCSS Accounting is the first completely online accounting package designed solely for the education sector. The cloud-based software allows users access from anywhere, at anytime, and it’s been developed to be extremely easy to use, so no prior accounting training is needed.
For more information, please visit http://www.hcsseducation.co.uk/software/hcss-accounting
"School and academy leaders in the South East are really feeling the effects of increasing costs and uncertainties over future funding."
Howard Jackson, head of education and founder
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