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Value for Money Statement

1      Improving Educational Results

 

Educational results remain high at Eaglesfield Paddle CE Primary Academy and consistently above the National Average in most areas (see Key Stage 1 & 2 Result Tables with Predictions).

 

KS 1 RESULTS

Subject

2012-13

201314

Predicted 2014-15

Reading

Level 2b+    79%

Level 3       62%

Level 2b+    100%

Level 3       62%

Level 2b+    86%

Level 3       40%

Writing

Level 2b+     76%

Level 3        17%

Level 2b+    97%

Level 3       21%

Level 2b+    80%

Level 3       23%

Maths

Level 2b+     83%

Level 3        41%

Level 2b+    100%

Level 3       40%

Level 2b+    90%

Level 3       40%

 

Key Stage 2 Result

Subject

2012-13

2013-14

Predicted 2014-15

Reading

Level 4 – 92%

Level 5 – 76%

Level 4 – 97%

Level 5 – 66%

Level 4 – 97%

Level 5 – 73%

Writing

Level 4 – 92%

Level 5 – 68%

Level 4 – 97%

Level 5 – 31%

Level 4 – 97%

Level 5 – 43%

Maths

Level 4 – 84%

Level 5 – 64%

Level 6 -20%

Level 4 – 79%

Level 5 – 48%

Level 6 – 10%

Level 4 – 97%

Level 5 – 50%

 

1.1 The Leadership team have closely monitored teaching and learning throughout the Academy.  Termly monitoring of lesson observations, pupil tracking meetings with teachers and data analysis has enabled the Leadership team to identify areas of development. Appraisal of staff performance and the development of effective targets that link into School Improvement, continuous professional development is supporting current standards and improving educational outcomes for pupils.  Sharing data and school improvement priorities with Governors and parents has facilitated support, scrutiny, challenge and close partnerships.  Investment in the new Bio-Mass boiler, a new shared indoor and outdoor covered area to the Foundation Stage Unit, continued investment in the ICT Strategy, and, improved working resources and environment has maximised best value for all of our pupils, staff, and the community.

 

1.2 Focus on Individual Pupils

 

Leadership tracking of individual pupils and groups of pupils continues to make a significant impact on improvement for pupils throughout the school.  The new curriculum has been fully implemented throughout school along with the new Code of Practice. Additional funding for pupils identified as Pupil Premium has been ring-fenced and detailed pupil premium plans have been developed to support individual pupil achievement for 2014/15. Special Educational Needs is targeted through the SENCO directing Senior Teaching Assistants and working in partnership with parents, teachers and outside agencies to provide effective support to meet the needs of individual pupils. Termly review meetings with teachers and parents enable Individual Education plans to be reviewed.  More able pupils have made good progress, the percentage of Level 5’s attained in 2014 remain above the national average.  The majority of SEN pupils and vast majority of Pupil Premium pupils are predicted to meet their end of year learning targets and many predicted to exceed these targets.

 

1.3 Collaboration

 

The Trust continues to engage with other educational providers and experts to share delivery of good practice.  Eaglesfield Paddle CE Primary Academy is part of the Cumbrian Systems Leaders and Alliance, and takes full advantage of courses provided and reciprocal visits to other schools to share good practice.  Governors play an active role in professional development, by attending courses, arranging meetings with other educational establishments, and sharing their knowledge with the Diocesan, being key drivers in helping shape the “Good Shepherd Multi-Academy Trust”.

 

1.4 New Initiatives

 

The recently installed (Sept 2013) wood-pellet biomass boiler system has materially provided efficient heating and water to the academy during the year, and will continue to do so over the next 20 years. This has also provided an educational resource for the children.  They have used their mathematical skills to work out energy saved by the system and also the financial benefit this will bring to their school. 

 

The development of Curriculum Teams and Leaders has enabled the staff to contribute to the development and implementation of the new curriculum.  Learning is linked where possible to outdoor learning, using our residential educational experiences to enhance learning and life skills. 

 

The new initiative of delegating each Curriculum Team Leader their own budget has been effective in targeted money based on priority and raising standards throughout school. 

 

Curriculum Team Leaders have developed a detailed action plan based on the key priorities identified in the School Development Plan. 

 

An investment in a new electronic Pupil Tracking package, has provided the Leadership team and teaching staff with a detailed analysis tool of pupil progress and attainment.

 

1.5 Quantifying Improvements

 

Raise- on -Line 2012, 2013 and 2014 demonstrates evidence of the effectiveness of the trust’s strategies.  There is also “In House” school data that demonstrates individual, groups and class progress and attainment.  This informs how the Leadership team targets provision to need.  The Raise-on-Line and School based date is shared with Governors, so that they are aware of the strengths and areas of development throughout the Academy.

 

2      Financial Governance and Oversight

 

·         The academy takes great pride in having very strong lines of financial authority and control. Trustees, accounting officer, business manager, leadership team, and budget holders are continuously trained to ensure they are fully conversant with their roles and responsibilities from a financial perspective.

 

·         The academy’s financial arrangements are laid down in its Financial Regulations Manual. To ensure responsibilities are fully discharged each trustee and employee of the academy receives a hard copy for reference purposes, which can also be found on the website. This document gives guidance to individuals on dealing with any transactions having a financial implication. Clarification with the business manager is encouraged on any financial matter.

 

·         The computerised finance system used by the academy has a robust detailed coding structure to ensure adequate control is in place, and, secondly, also supports the decision making process by having a comprehensive reporting structure.

 

·         Cost centres held on the system are mutually exclusive to budget holders, supported by detailed subjective analysis to support both statutory and management decision-making requirements.

 

·         Budget holders are fully involved in developing their own budget proposals, and once approved by Trustees take full ownership for decision-making and monitoring purposes.

 

·         A standing item on the senior leadership team’s weekly meeting agenda is presented by the business manager to discuss all relevant financial matters, receive financial reports including the annual report and final accounts, and budget proposals, and, make decisions on future direction based on financial findings.

 

·         Senior leadership team are also responsible, in conjunction with trustees, for strategic financial direction of the academy.

 

·         Trustees are involved in all stages in the annual revenue budget process, development of the medium term 3 year financial plan, and, the capital programme.

 

·         The governing body employ the services of a fully qualified chartered management accountant who is responsible for all financial and business-orientated matters, reporting directly to the governing body and the academy’s accounting officer.

 

·         The finance committee meet formally at least 6 times per annum, with both the chair of governors, and, the finance committee chair taking an active professional role on all financial matters affecting the academy. The chair of governors is a financial professional, and the finance chair is a senior manager in the nuclear energy industry. They are both highly pro-active and have daily contact with both the accounting officer and business manager.

 

·         The finance committee are responsible for developing the financial strategy of the academy in accordance with the overall objectives, and making recommendations to the governing body.

 

·         They receive regular reports including budget monitoring, cost benefit analysis, year-end projections, cash flow, trading services etc. These are challenged to ensure robustness and sustainability at all levels prior to making any required recommendations to the governing body as part of the overall decision making process.

 

·         The academy’s staffing, admissions, and community committee have delegated responsibility for all establishment matters as this has the largest financial impact on the academy.  They approve the establishment as part of the annual budget process, and, any requested amendments during the year must be authorised by staffing and community. Reports are received regularly on staffing including overtime, supply, sickness etc.

 

·         The academy holds an annual development day involving all staff, trustees, school council, and other stakeholders. The purpose is to develop the 3 year development plan which then forms a key stage in the budget process.

 

·         The academy has clear divisions of responsibility with respect to raising purchase orders, receiving goods and services, and payment. All invoices are authorised by the accounting officer prior to payment, and controls are in place for cheque signatories.

 

·         Tender limits are set out in the Financial Regulations Manual.

 

·         The accounting officer reviews and signs for all reconciliations, including bank, and all control accounts i.e. payroll, vat etc.

 

3      Better Purchasing

 

3.1  Fit for purpose

 

·         The academy continuously reviews its services and contracts to ensure they fully meet the purposes required.

 

·         The Financial Regulations Manual sets out purchasing and tendering requirements in terms of receiving verbal or written quotations through to a full tendering exercise.

 

·         Quality and effectiveness are continuously monitored and reviewed to ensure that value for money is achieved at all times.

 

·         Existing contracts are regularly monitored by the accounting officer and the business manager to ensure that contract requirements are met. Monitoring meetings take place quarterly with the contractors and service providers to discuss contracts with an emphasis on quality, and plan and future requirements.

 

·         Project teams, including trustees, the accounting officer, the business manager, and other relevant parties are set up with delegated responsibility to oversee any new contracts and contract renewals. They are responsible for all stages of the tender process from issuing tender documentation to recommendation of preferred supplier to the relevant committee.

 

·         New contracts entered into during the year include, amongst others, a new server and computer system for the academy, a new photocopier, and insurance arrangements.

 

3.2  Benchmarking

 

·         The academy has a good relationship with other academies and schools in the area, and share information through regular formal workshops, visits, and also informally by telephone meetings and email.  We use this network to evaluate and compare data, and continuously review whether value for money is being achieved or whether there are alternative decisions to be made.

 

3.3  Options Appraisal

 

·         Options appraisals are carried out on any long term proposed projects or when reviewing current trading based services i.e. catering. The appraisal identifies options available and carries out a swot analysis and cost benefit analysis on each option.

 

·         Recent projects include introduction of a new biomass energy heating system, “Care Around The Clock!” before and after school care, and the catering service.

 

·         Ranked options are presented to the relevant committee who discuss the findings prior to making a recommendation to the Governing Body for approval purposes.

 

3.4  Economies of Scale

 

·         The academy actively looks for potential partners on any new initiatives to drive in economies of scale.

 

·         Currently we are reviewing our support costs and looking to introduce a new computerised accounting system better suited for academies. A number of other academies in the area have been approached initially to measure interest.

 

·         Recently the academy tendered jointly with another local academy for its insurance arrangements. We both benefited from a financial viewpoint whilst still having separate insurance policies.

 

·         We are members of the Yorkshire Purchasing Organisation and Crescent Purchasing Consortiums and take advantage of their purchasing power wherever possible.

 

4      Better Income Generation

 

·         The academy continuously review options to maximise income generation.

 

·         Our excellent hall facilities are well used by the community, and we also provide a catering service on demand for children’s parties etc.

 

·         We are currently liaising with some major locally based employers to additional income through sponsorship deals which will also be educationally beneficial for our children.

 

·         The academy has recently opened (Sept 2014) a “Care Around The Clock” before and after school club.

 

·         The academy has recently introduced a new biomass heating system into the school, which will generate additional income in the region of £14k per annum for a guaranteed 20 years as renewable heating incentive grant from the government.

 

·         Eaglesfield trustees, as owners of the land, are currently reviewing the use of agricultural land adjacent to the academy. Any increase in rent etc. will benefit the academy in future years as the trustees makes discretionary contributions.

   

5      Reviewing Controls and Managing risk

 

·         The academy has continued to develop and embed the system of internal control, including financial, operational and risk management which is designed to protect the Academy's assets and reputation.

 

·         The governors finance committee has tasked the business manager to undertake a comprehensive review of the risks to which the Academy is exposed on a monthly basis following a Monthly Compliance Checklist. This identifies systems and procedures, including specific preventable actions which should mitigate any potential impact on the academy. The internal controls are then implemented and the subsequent month's appraisal will review the effectiveness and progress against risk mitigation actions. In addition to the monthly review, the business manager will also consider any risks which may arise as a result of any new areas of work being undertaken by the academy and report this to the governors.

 

·         A risk register continues to be developed at the academy level which is reviewed annually by the finance committee and more frequently where necessary. The risk register identifies the key risks, the likelihood of those risks occurring, their potential impact on the Academy and the actions being taken to reduce and mitigate the risks. Risks are prioritised using a consistent scoring system.

 

·         Outlined below is a description of the principal risk factors that may affect the academy. Not all the factors are within the academy's control. Other factors besides those listed below may also adversely affect the academy.

 

1. Government funding

 

o   The academy has considerable reliance on continued government funding through the EFA. In the 12 month period the ultimately public funded EFA grant received was in circa £800,000, which represented 79% of the Academy's total revenue. This level of requirement is expected to continue. There can be no assurance that government policy or practice will remain the same or that public funding will continue at the same levels or on the same terms.

 

·          The risk is mitigated in a number of ways:

 

> Funding is derived through a number of direct and indirect contractual arrangements

 

> By ensuring the Academy is rigorous in delivering high quality education and training

 

> Considerable focus and investment is placed on maintaining and managing key relationships with the EFA.

 

2.  Maintain adequate funding of pension liabilities

 

o   The financial statements report the share of the pension scheme deficit on the Academy's balance sheet in line with the requirements of FRS17.

 

3. Maintaining pupil numbers

 

o   This needs to be continuously closely monitored in light of the predicted falling rolls in and out of catchment.

 

4. Major unplanned building works

 

o   The buildings and open spaces are currently in very good order. Close monitoring through the asset management plan avoids any un-necessary risk and cost.

 

o   The Governing Body has delegated the day-to-day responsibility to the Head Teacher, as Accounting Officer, for maintaining a sound system of internal control that supports the achievement of the Academy's policies, aims and objectives, whilst safeguarding the public funds and assets for which she is personally responsible, in accordance with the responsibilities assigned to her in the Financial Memorandum between Eaglesfield Paddle Trust and EFA. She is also responsible for reporting to the governing body any material weaknesses or breakdowns in internal control.

 

·         The system of internal control is designed to manage risk to a reasonable level rather than to eliminate all risk or failure to achieve policies, aims and objectives; it can therefore provide reasonable and not absolute assurance of effectiveness. The system of internal control is based on an on-going process designed to identify and prioritise the risks to the achievement of Academy policies, aims and objectives, to evaluate the likelihood of those risks being realised and the impact should they be realised, and to manage them efficiently, effectively and economically. The system of internal control has been in place in Eaglesfield Paddle Academy for the year ended 31 August 2014 and up to the date of approval of the annual report and accounts.

 

·         The Academy's system of internal financial control is based on a framework of regular management information and administrative procedures including the segregation of duties and a system of delegation and accountability. In particular it includes:

 

> comprehensive budgeting and monitoring systems, with an annual budget, a rolling 3 year financial plan and periodic financial reports which are reviewed and agreed by the governing body;

 

> regular reviews by the finance committee of reports which indicate financial performance against the forecasts and of major purchase plans, capital works and expenditure programmes;

 

> setting targets to measure financial and other performance;

 

> clearly defined purchasing (asset purchase or capital investment) guidelines;

 

> delegation of authority and segregation of duties;

 

> identification and management of risks.

 

·         In addition the governors have considered the guidance for directors of public listed companies contained within the Turnbull Report. They believe that although it is not mandatory for the Academy it should, as a public funded body, adopt the guidelines as best practice. Accordingly they have:

 

> set policies on internal control;

 

> clarified the responsibility of the senior leadership team to implement the governors' policies and to identify and evaluate risks for the governors' considerations;

 

> explained to employees that they have responsibility for internal control as part of their accountability for achieving objectives;

 

> embedded the control system in the academy's operations so that it becomes part of the academy's culture;

 

> developed systems to respond quickly to evolving risks arising from factors within the Academy and to changes in the external environment; and

 

> included procedures for reporting failings immediately to appropriate levels of management and the governors together with details of corrective action being undertaken.

 

·         The governing body has considered the need for a specific internal audit function and has decided to appoint an internal auditor. The governors have appointed Tattersall Bailey Co. (formerly known as John Belford & Co.) as Responsible Officer (RO). The RO's role includes giving advice on financial matters and performing a range of checks on the Academy's financial systems. As permitted by the EFA Financial Handbook for Academies, this task has been outsourced to external auditors. On a termly basis the external auditors report to the governing body on the operation of the systems of control on the discharge of the RO's financial responsibilities.

 

·         Capacity to Handle Risk

 

o   The board of trustees review the key risks to which the charitable company is exposed together with the operating, financial and compliance controls that have been implemented to mitigate those risks.  The board of trustees is currently of the view that there is a formal on-going process for identifying, evaluating and managing the charitable company's significant risks that has been in place for the period 1 September 2012 to 31 August 2013 and up to the date of approval of the annual report and financial statements.  This process is regularly reviewed by the board of trustees.

 

·         The Risk and Control Framework

 

o   The governors have assessed the major risks to which the academy is exposed, in particular those relating to the specific teaching, provision of facilities and other operational areas of the academy and its finances. The governors have implemented a number of systems to assess risks that the academy faces, especially in the operational areas (e.g. in relation to teaching, health and safety, bullying and school trips) and in relation to the control of finance. They have introduced systems, including operational procedures (e.g. vetting of new staff and visitors, supervision of school grounds) and internal financial controls (see below) in order to minimise risk. Where significant financial risk still remains they have ensured they have adequate insurance cover. They are satisfied that these systems are consistent with guidelines issued by the Charities Commission. The academy has an effective system of internal financial controls and this is explained in more detail in the following statement.

 

·         Review of Effectiveness

 

As accounting officer, the Head Teacher has responsibility for reviewing the effectiveness of the system of internal control. Her review of the effectiveness of the system of internal control is informed by:

 

    > the work of the responsible officer;

 

> the work of the senior leadership team within the Academy who have responsibility for the development and maintenance of the internal control framework;

 

> comments made by the Academy's financial statements auditors in their management letters and other reports.

 

The Head Teacher has been advised on the implications of the result of her review on the effectiveness of the system of internal control by the Finance Committee, which oversees the work of the responsible officer, and a plan to address weaknesses and ensure continuous improvement of the systems in place.

 

·         The senior leadership team receives reports setting out key performance and risk indicators and considers possible control issues brought to their attention by early warning mechanisms, which are embedded within the school and reinforced by risk awareness training. The senior leadership team and the Finance Committee also receive regular reports from the responsible officer, which include recommendations for improvement. The Finance Committee's role in this area is confined to a high level review of the arrangements for internal control. The emphasis is on obtaining the relevant degree of assurance and not merely reporting by exception.

 

6      Lessons Learned

·         The academy continues to strengthen its system financial and operational controls since conversion to an academy in June 2011.

 

·         Trustees and officers alike are conscious that we need to continue to review all aspects of the business to ensure that the academy receives excellent value for money and thus ensure the children of Paddle get the best educational experience possible.

 

·         The major lesson learnt so far is that we cannot afford to stand still as the business continues to evolve.

 

DFV Watson
Headteacher

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