High performing school needing to find additional income through staff secondment

Insight – Primary School

What was the issue addressed?
The financial disadvantages to school budgets and support by being a high performing school with minimal PDG, take up of free school meals etc.

What happened?
We are constantly looking for other avenues of funding, which mainly involves the Head or another teacher being seconded out to the LEA or other schools for periods of time to share best practice. Great on one level however the roles need to be backfilled.

What lessons were learnt?
We are aware of schools who are not performing so well, or are in areas of deprivation, who have so much additional financial support they have not been able to decide what to spend it on.

The budget setting process within the LEA appears to have a mystery of its own.

The budget allocated to individual schools is calculated using a locally determined funding formula drawn up by the Local Authority. A large percentage of the money received at school level is based on the number of pupils enrolled at the school. There are also other sources of funding available to schools, for example, the Pupil Development Grant. The Local Authority will also consult on the funding formula for their area, so it is incumbent on individual schools to ensure they respond accordingly with any comments and concerns.

All local authorities have a School Forum which was introduced to develop dialogue between local authorities and their schools on “budgetary issues, including school funding levels for the coming year, pressures on future years’ budgets, changes to local funding formulae, as well as reviewing contracts/service level agreements for services to schools.” Headteachers, governors and non-school members will make up the membership of this forum. If schools and governing bodies have concerns, this is an excellent forum to raise any issue.

Answers to questions about school funding arrangements can be found here too.

Further information about schools and finances is also available here.

Schools will sometimes be asked if members of staff can be seconded from time to time, to work for the Local Authority or Regional Consortia. The benefits can be several fold – invariably, the staff in question will have demonstrated excellent practice and the Local Authority / Regional Consortium will wish to tap into this expertise to share best practice with schools and practitioners across the region.

It also provides excellent professional development opportunities for those seconded and also for those who act up in posts within the school in the interim, while a member of staff is on secondment. The whole process does, however, have to be managed properly, and a balanced approach is needed between allowing staff to be seconded, at the potential detriment of the school concerned. In high performing schools, it is likely that there will be several requests.

Schools/Governing bodies should have a secondment policy in place, which will help them to determine the best way forward.

The PDG is a key education policy to tackle the impact of deprivation and disadvantage on educational outcomes. As this grant is linked to those pupils eligible for free school meals and those who are looked after, schools in Wales will receive different levels of this funding stream. Schools are required to publish their online PDG allocation, as well as an outline of how the funding is used to improve outcomes. This is also be linked to future work goals within the School Development Plan. Accountability processes are in place to monitor and evaluate the impact of strategies. Where there is evidence that the PDG has been inappropriately or ineffectively spent, the grant would be recovered.
Pupil Development Grant: guidance

A range of information about the Pupil Development Grant (PDG) can be found here.

Governing bodies need to be evaluating and assessing what impact the school’s spending of the PDG grant has on specific pupil’s performance. Estyn inspectors will also be looking at this as part of the Common Inspection Framework when inspecting schools. Further information can be found here.

What are the pressures on your school budget?
Has your school had to release staff for secondment? What were the implications of this?
In what ways do you think school budget allocation could be improved?

Have your say…
Have you had experiences similar to these?
What do you think about the situation described?

Contact Us

01443 844532 / 029 2075 3685 [email protected]
Sam MacNamara – 07943 887275 / Jane Morris – 07957 969708