The Optimus blog

The blog that inspires leaders in the UK education sector

Financial management

Sue Birchall

School funding reform: welcome relief or wishful thinking?

The government's promise of more investment in schools is welcome news to SBMs, but Sue Birchall thinks the proof is in the pudding. Never one to turn my nose up at more money, imagine my delight at the secretary of state for education, Justine Greening’s announcing that there will be even more...
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John Viner

All change: the new funding formula explained

At last, the DfE has released its plans for the long-awaited national funding formula for schools. Here's what we know about the proposed reforms. Since the new national funding formula will impact on schools in every parliamentary constituency, MPs have received a detailed briefing. This summary...
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Liz Worthen

When finance met fine dining: modelling efficiencies in MATs

Our MATs Summit prelude brought financial management heads together to discuss fairer funding and money-saving in multi-academy trusts. Models for growth The afternoon began with an exploration of models and structures led by Matthew Clements-Wheeler, business manager and deputy headteacher at...
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Sue Birchall

Ofsted is coming: how SBMs can prepare

No truer is the saying 'Proper preparation prevents poor performance' than when an inspector calls. Here are the steps school business managers can take to stay ahead. For many school leaders, the autumn term can be the winter of their discontent. Image source: HBO At the beginning of term, nothing...
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Sue Birchall

Dawn of MAT or: the evolution of the SBM

The old days of school business management are gone, but not forgotten. Sue Birchall looks at the history of this complex role. With the announcement of an election and the subsequent freeze on publishing the response from the grammar school consultation process, the education sector – and the...
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Sue Birchall

SBMs: let's focus on solutions, not problems

Given its skewed portrayal in the media, you'd forgive people for wondering if there's any hope left in education. It's time SBMs took a solution-based approach to funding challenges. ‘Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.’ ~ George...
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Nickii Messer

Budget cutting should be long-term, not knee-jerk

In a climate of ever-tightening purse strings, it’s all too easy for school business leaders to overlook strategic plans and make hasty attempts to cut staff in order to balance the budget. With most schools feeling the pinch – or the tight grip of a vice, in some cases – of rapidly shrinking...
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Matthew Clement...

Fairer funding or financial catastrophe? Stephen Morales on challenging the status quo

I recently asked Stephen Morales, CEO of the National Association of School Business Management, for his view on the impact of recent funding issues on schools. Throughout the interview, Stephen was as measured and diplomatic as you would expect of someone in his position. NASBM is an organisation...
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Nickii Messer

Why aren't more schools business savvy?

It is disheartening that so many schools continue to make poor financial decisions at the expense of their pupils' life chances. If they are to stay solvent, SBMs must spend strategically! To prove that I am such a hard-nosed business lady, my friends like to recall the time that, when held up and...
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Sue Birchall

Short-changed: the future of the small school in financial hardship

In a time of ever-shrinking budgets, there is evidence that smaller schools are beginning to feel the financial pinch a little more than the rest of us. A report by the BBC highlights concerns previously raised by the ACSL that smaller schools ‘will fall off a cliff’ before the next round of...
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