CPD Toolkit | Budgeting for school improvement

Budgeting for school improvement


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Are you working with staff to maximise the financial efficiency of your school? This course explores the links between financial planning and school improvement. It aims to help staff to develop practical skills and understanding of how to manage budgets effectively, and identify opportunities for efficiency savings.

Course outline

Session 1 - Stakeholder mapping


  • Re-evaluate whole-school aims and objectives via collaborative documentation of current practice
  • Analyse aspects of school efficiency via monitoring and evaluating current practice
  • Understand the importance of collaboration and teamwork, focusing on the roles and responsibilities of key stakeholders 
  • Define and rank what the school wants to achieve in the short and long term

Session 2 - Linking the budget and improvement planning cycle


  • Reflect on the effectiveness of the school’s present organisation, particularly in relation to the structure of strategic and financial planning systems
  • Employ systematic planning tools to target resources and to balance finances with standards
  • Match the school improvement plan with available resources
  • Understand that linking key calendar milestones in the budget and improvement planning cycles focuses decisions on improved outcomes for pupils
Authors: This course was developed in partnership with Alex Green from Alex Green Consultancy, a former headteacher and school budget and finance specialist. 

Session 3 - Testing the budget


  • Encourage a focus on what you can control. This session begins to look at the school budget to analyse aspects of expenditure and the impact of planning choices
  • Understand the use of key leadership data and pattern analysis of income and expenditure
  • Begin to interrogate areas of expenditure, and complete a systematic analysis of key features in the budget
  • Focus attention on budget decisions for the school for the next two years, via the analysis of historical patterns and the success or failure of previous investment 
  • Have a general understanding of the concept of benchmarking, both local and national
  • Test the budget and the impact of investment 

Session 4 - Setting the budget


  • Develop a shared understanding and shared sense of responsibility for the management and use of financial resources
  • Develop an entrepreneurial can do culture in the development of financial strategy
  • Understand the place of collaboration and partnerships in a budget strategy including the concept of economies of scale
  • Gain an understanding of how to set a budget and the place of key information in budget planning
  • Develop a strategic approach to decision making about the deployment of financial resources including robust systems and financial structures


Courses include:
  • Facilitator notes providing step-by-step guidance with discussion prompts, activity instructions and links to further reading
  • A facilitator log including a checklist to support session planning and evaluation, and to help you identify next steps 
  • A diagnostic audit to assess participants’ prior knowledge so that you can tailor the content and target areas for improvement
  • Presentation slides outlining key concepts and guidance
  • Videos to support activities and to explain complex ideas
  • A learning log enabling participants to reflect upon their learning against the course objectives
  • A feedback form enabling participants to evaluate the subject content and activities in the session
  • A certificate to certify participation in the training course

How it works

  1. Download high-quality materials created in partnership with subject specialists, and quality assured for your peace of mind
  2. Adapt the resources to meet the needs of your school and staff
  3. Deliver engaging training with confidence, with the support of comprehensive facilitator guidance 
  4. Evaluate the impact of your training to identify areas where staff need further support