Year Ended: 31 August 2013
I accept that as accounting officer of The Premier Academy I am responsible and accountable for ensuring that the Academy Trust delivers good value in the use of public resources. I am aware of the guide to academy value for money statements published by the Education Funding Agency and understand that value for money refers to the educational and wider societal outcomes achieved in return for the taxpayer resources received.
The Academy is highly inclusive and as such prides itself on the value it adds to the children’s education. For the past 6 years The Premier Academy has bettered the most challenging targets set by Fischer Family Trust (FFT) an independent target setting body. This has continually placed the Academy firmly in the top 25% of schools in the country, a trend which has continued this year.
By offering a bespoke curriculum designed to meet the needs of our children we have been able to maintain our excellent academic outcomes for the children attending the Academy.
All groups of children did well academically at school during the last year. This includes disabled pupils and those with special educational needs as well as those from minority ethnic backgrounds including those who speak English as an additional language. As a result, pupils leave school well prepared for the next stage of their education. Many pupils reached Level 5 in both English and mathematics.
Sophisticated pupil attainment tracking systems combined with rigorous analysis have aided the early identification of underachievement which in turn has allowed our dedicated team of SEN practitioners to intervene early on in our children’s journeys through school.
All staff have embraced the revised Performance Management systems which Ofsted acknowledged has led to an improvement in practice.
Pupils entitled to pupil premium funding have made excellent progress. By the time they left the school in July 2013 their attainment was in line with that of their peers in reading by a third of a year, matched that of their peers in mathematics and was just below in writing.
The Academy has and continues to operate with very strong links between the school and the health and social services. This has improved due to the appointment of a dedicated assistant social worker and a behaviour specialist.
In the most recent externally appointed audit sanctioned by the EFA, the audit team agreed with The Premier Academy that the proper and regular use of public funds was outstanding.
In addition Ofsted has recently determined that:
I therefore set out below how I have ensured that the Academy Trust’s use of its resources has provided good value for money during the last academic year.
On receiving the budget forecast for 2012/13, the staffing levels were assessed to ensure that the staffing structure could be sustained throughout the fiscal year, this being the highest area of expenditure. Also taken into account was the potential need for additional and/or the reduction of staffing levels in various areas of the Academy. As and when staff left our employment we analysed the need to replace; whether it was due to financial restrictions, individual pupil needs or a general re-deployment of staff to avoid waste and extravagance.
We held bi-monthly finance committee meetings. During those meetings the Business Manager reported the latest financial status, including a breakdown of all income and expenditure and advised the areas which required further discussion and potential restrictive spending. This also gave the finance committee the opportunity to recommend areas of improvements and highlight potential future threats.
The Responsible Officer ensured that the quarterly checks were carried out and reported to the finance committee and the full governing body at each relevant meeting. The RO has ensured that all internal spending controls are in place and that all financial records are up to date including the reconciliation of payroll.
The key objective of obtaining value for money in all areas was enhanced during this fiscal year by a more regular sharing of the Academy’s financial position with all staff. It is the Trustee’s view that efficiency analysis is most appropriately carried out when an organisation is at peak performance. As such this year has seen a firm focus on staff re-deployment, energy efficiency and waste accountability.
At the end of 2013 we put out a tender for insurance and secured a significant saving with our new insurance company whilst still ensuring the correct cover and support.
We recently completed the building of a new sports hall. The Academy contributed a significant amount of funding to this project whilst ensuring that other areas were not affected negatively. This was done as a result of a full school resource audit which promoted a sharing of materials and in some cases a realisation of just how much the Academy possessed.
We operated bi-monthly full governing body meetings which allowed us to deal with issues on a regular basis which increased efficiency.
All services and contracts were appraised as to their need and renegotiated taking into account the best value for money. This was not always the cheapest but when it was not it was because the additional benefits outweighed the cost. Quotations were obtained as required and the companies’ ability to deliver assessed.
All available funds are held within bank accounts to obtain the highest benefits possible and to ensure the flexible movement of funds.
Both the trustees and I have ensured and continue to ensure that the funds available are spent effectively and are tightly controlled.