School Efficiency Advisors: a financial friend for schools in need

NASBM is supporting the Department for Education by deploying forty Fellows as efficiency advisors for schools and academy trusts facing financial difficulty. In a move endorsed by Ministers, senior school business leaders will provide free of charge support to schools wrestling with budget deficits and problems with financial management.

These experienced school business leaders have been selected by NASBM from amongst their most experienced members and will operate under the designation of School Efficiency Advisors (SEAs). Working alongside DfE/ESFA officials, the SEA role will provide support to Regional School Commissioners to secure improvement in the financial position of those schools and trusts which are struggling to manage their financial commitments.

It seems the financial advisors have Ministerial backing. Sir Theodore Agnew, the new Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the School System addressed the first meeting of the group in central London on Monday. He outlined the importance of schools balancing their budgets and explained how the SEA initiative is intended to help. Emphasising the growing role of school business leaders and the positive impact strong financial management can have on school improvement and pupil outcome, Agnew made it clear – the SEA group is expected to make a tangible difference in the financial health of schools – quickly.

Stephen Morales, speaking at the launch event, explained the new role is an opportunity to demonstrate the impact highly competent school business leaders can have. He explained that the aim of the pilot group was “to improve practice across the education system, to share case studies, grow knowledge and to ultimately secure the future sustainability of education provision and the outcomes for entire learning communities.

NASBM’s communication to members on the issue explained “School Efficiency Advisers need to be experienced professionals with extensive up-to-date practical experience and knowledge, and recognition within, the sector”.

Sector commentators noted this is a significant development for NASBM as it prepares to change its name to the Institute of School Business Leadership (ISBL) in November.

For the first phase of implementation (academic year 2017/18), the SEA role will be open to National Association of School Business Management (NASBM) Fellows only

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