Schools are funded by the Dedicated Schools Grant received from central government, with allocations determined by the local funding formula.
The schools’ budget is a term used to bring together both individual schools' budgets (called the ISB) and school monies managed centrally on their behalf.
School funding scheme
The financial rules and regulations within which schools work and the distribution formula used to allocate funding to schools is set out in a legal document called the school funding scheme. The formula used includes allocations for pupils with Special Educational Needs, etc.
Financial Statements (Section 251)
Local Authorities (LAs) are required under Section 251 of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998 to provide information on the amount of funding individual schools receive and details of how this funding is made up and how it was spent. LAs must prepare a budget statement before the beginning of each year i.e. by 31 March and an outturn statement after the end of that financial year.
Purpose of financial statements
The statements are intended to:
- provide schools, parents and others with an interest in education with details about schools and LA funding (planned for budget and actual for outturn) and expenditure
- provide data for the Departmental Annual Report (DAR)
- inform policy making
- inform the Treasury for monitoring purposes
- inform Parliament in its role of monitoring the department's accountability for public funds. MPs ask about school and authority expenditure via the mechanisms of Parliamentary Questions through the Education Select Committee
The budget statement provides information on funding made available annually to schools, showing how the funding is made up and how this compares with other county schools.
The outturn statement details how the school has spent the funding available to it, including any year-end balances unspent / overdrawn. It comprises of three sections:
- Table A - Spending by schools and LA information is linked with the collection of Consistent Financial Reporting (CFR) data from schools:
the upper part of the table is the 'Spending by Schools' section and will be pre-populated with information taken from the CFR database if this data has been submitted and verified before Section 251 templates are dispatched. The lower part is the 'Spending by LA' section to show what the authority has spent at the centre but not the funding passed to schools
- The Youth Service Annex relates to expenditure on the LA's Youth Service. The annex provides a further break down of expenditure shown at line 80 of Table A
- Table B is School level information. It provides a summary of individual schools' expenditure and income
- Details of both financial statements are available on the Cambridgeshire Education Portal.
School funding reform
In 2013, following consultation, the government implemented changes to school funding. The Department for Education (DfE) provides details of these.
These reforms will impact on school funding for both maintained and academy schools within Cambridgeshire. All local authorities will need to follow the regulation in the working out of all school budgets as well as in the way they fund Statements of Special Educational Needs and Early Years.
Work is underway to develop the new local funding formula for Cambridgeshire schools and the latest information, including draft budgets for primary and secondary schools can be found on the Education Portal.
Who to contact
Should you have any questions regarding individual schools, then these should be directed to either the headteacher or the governors of the school in the first instance.
Should you have any questions regarding the overall funding position of Cambridgeshire local authority in relation to schools, or any other question on the policy or regulations concerning the funding of schools, then these should be directed to the Service Finance Manager.
Please see the schools' finance pages on the Cambridgeshire Education Portal.