Thursday, 16th March 2017
FINANCE experts are helping schools manage their money as they come under pressure to save £3bn
FINANCE experts are helping schools manage their money as they come under pressure to save £3bn.
Chartered accountants and business advisers Clive Owen LLP, which operates from offices in Darlington, Durham and York, has analysed the extent of the financial issues facing academies. The firm currently works with over 80 secondary and primary academies across the North East and Yorkshire.
The Academies Benchmark Report, written in association with the Kreston Academies Group, highlights the financial pressures schools are facing which is demanding greater scrutiny of costs.
One of its authors, Clive Owen LLP partner Chris Beaumont, is a specialist in the education sector and sits on the board of a local academy.
He said schools were facing a future of lower income and increased costs. The general annual grant was down for primary and secondary pupils and academies were also having to fund increases in national insurance and teachers’ pensions.
“This is resulting in increased pressures on academies more of which are finding themselves in deficit,” he said. “Never has it been more important to scrutinize costs which is where we are trying to help.
“We are sitting down with our schools and reviewing their cost structures to see where savings can be made and efficiencies improved. The bulk of their costs are staff but there are also ways of saving money on heating, lighting and procurement of goods and services.”
Partner Kevin Shotton, also a specialist in the education sector, said the pace of academy conversions was increasing in the North, particularly the formation of MATs, which could reap the benefits of economies of scale and sharing good practice and knowledge.
Average salaries had fallen because many senior staff were retiring and being replaced by newly qualified teachers. In secondary schools this had seen the average teaching salary fall from £43,000 to £37,000 in recent years.
“Senior head teachers are also leaving the profession as their role has moved away from teaching to managing finances and HR issues, with schools operating more like businesses,” he said.
“There is a wealth of data and expertise out there to help schools meet the challenges ahead and we are delighted to help them evaluate their position in the education sector.”
For more information on the Academies Benchmark Report visit www.cliveowen.com.