As the SRMA programme completes its 2nd year of deployments following the initial pilot, EPI will also be completing its 3rd year supporting the programme, we will start to question the impact on the educational sector;
How is ICFP being used to achieve and deliver both school improvement and a sustainable budget?
In short – A LOT!
But how & what does that look like?
Typical SRMA visits consist of days crunching data which includes budgets, forecasts, staffing details, curriculum plans and teaching loads, while comparing to national benchmarking and finding efficiencies.
Sounds like an incomplete representation of the schools doesn’t it? And it often evokes school responses like ‘well that doesn’t have anything to do with school improvement’.
BUT that’s just it – this is not what Integrated Curriculum Financial Planning (ICFP) is about.
ICFP as you know has been around for as long as there has been a curriculum and a budget. If you think that you aren’t carrying out ICFP – you most probably are!
ICFP is the next stage of an SRMA visit, the CONVERSATION; what’s going on, what’s driving those metrics, are they delivering school improvement outcomes and a balanced budget? – if not, why not and how does it need to change?
A an SRMA we often hear “benchmarking isn’t relevant to my school” whilst on deployment, “I don’t use it because there is so much more going on in our setting”.
I say “great, tell me about that and let’s help you use benchmarking to help you measure, monitor and review according to your schools characteristics and context” – Let’s have THAT conversation.
Ok, so you don’t benchmark within a certain metric compared to national – why?
Is it to deliver curriculum specific to the needs of the pupils or is it part of the improvement plan?
Are you thinking you should keep it off your scorecard or the metrics dashboard that you present to trustees – DON’T!!
Ensure that it is on there; report each term (measure), allow challenge from your Senior Leadership Team, your ‘critical friends’ the governors (monitor), re-visit the decision for this metric – is it delivering? (review).
Thus, allowing you to make the change with evidence when it is needed.
You might be wondering why the title of this piece included ‘you should arrive in a black cloak’ well an SRMA was greeted with that once from a non-believer of the programme, maybe?
An educational professional whose perspective was that the SRMA was there to make cuts, probably.
A Head Teacher who knew that decisions needed to be made but was worried for his staff, the curriculum and school improvement, definitely.
A SRMA deployment is not to make cuts it, but an SRMA is there to provide factually based evidence of areas of efficiency that would redistribute the schools funds to enable the school;
- To have leading teaching and educational professionals by enabling the school to spend more on professional development.
- To have a curriculum fit for purpose for the needs of the pupils, by enabling the school to invest in educational resources.
- To drive school improvement outcomes, by enabling the leads to have school improvement funds available to deliver their set objectives.
That same Head Teacher won’t mind us saying that by the end of the deployment he reached out and asked for additional support in building a plan of recovery based on the efficiencies identified and returned the school into a position to be able to redistribute the funds. The SRMA arrived in a black cloak and left in a red cape.
You wouldn’t pick a car without knowing the facts, would you? You will likely be looking for and asking these types of questions:
- Does it have an engine?
- Do the brakes work?
- How much is the tax?
- Can I afford the running costs?
You still don’t hand over the money for it without thinking about the context and characteristics of it – Will it meet the requirements of being a family of 4? If it’s a 2 seater convertible….probably not.
The ICFP metrics are the facts about a school, then apply the characteristics and context; like percentage of Free School Meals, number of EHCPs:
NOW you can make the strategic decision.
We have now launched our Brand new ICFP Toolkit – to enquire how this and EPI can help you, please send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 0116 228 0069.