Camden Schools Financial Planning Offer

Camden is making an offer to all schools in the borough to fund up to two days expert financial consultancy support per school. This is to support headteachers, school business managers/bursars and Governors plan strategically for making the anticipated savings that will be required over the next 3 to 4 years, while maintaining a high quality education and a commitment to inclusion. This offer can be taken up at any point between now and March 2017.

The list below is in two parts:

a) Details of nationally-recognised, experienced headteachers and school business managers from across the country who specialise in providing strategic financial planning support and consultancy for schools;


Experience and Approach

Alex Green Alex Green has been a Headteacher for over 20 years at Abington High School in Wigston, Leicestershire. At present he is the Executive Headteacher of Wigston Academies Trust. Alex has been a National Leader of Education since 2008. As a National Leader he has undertaken numerous deployments in other schools across the country focussing on deficit reduction. Where schools are in financial difficulties in the local region the Local Authority have asked Alex to undertake reviews of school budgets with the Headteacher and LA officers. All of these deployments have resulted in very successful outcomes for the schools. Alex has been a member of the Schools Forum in Leicestershire for over ten years and has been involved in writing the LA funding formula for schools. Alex has worked with the National College of Teaching and Leadership for many years as an adviser on funding and has organised and led courses for Senior Leaders and School Business Managers across the country for the College. Alex has also been a keynote speaker on school budgets at many national conferences. Additionally, his work on school finance has been recognised by the DfE with the Department seeking his views and advice on ‘fairer funding’ and advice to schools.
Alex has a clear view and understanding of school budget issues across all phases. He believes in seeking best value and value for money in all aspects of education. His model of aligning school improvement and financial planning cycles is widely regarded, not only in this country but in other countries he has visited. His belief is that school leaders must take a strategic view of financial planning to maintain or improve outcomes for young people.
In the last four schools Alex has worked with, where the senior teams adopted his advice, savings of over £1 million were made within the academic year.
Sam Ellis Sam Ellis started teaching in 1972 and worked in different schools in the East Riding of Yorkshire in a variety of roles including, Head of Physics, Curriculum Coordinator, Deputy Headteacher and Acting Headteacher. From 1998 to 2008 he was the SHA then ASCL branch secretary for the area and also represented local secondary headteachers on the Schools’ Forum. In that role he became involved in funding issues and co-produced the LA activity led funding model subsequently adopted by the f40 group of authorities. Sam was appointed as ASCL Regional Officer for Yorkshire and the Humber in September 2008 and transferred to the post of ASCL Funding Specialist in September 2010. He retired from full time ASCL work in 2014 and now works part time for ASCL as a funding consultant and also in a private capacity. In addition to representing and supporting ASCL members and delivering training he has developed a range of funding, timetabling and curriculum analysis tools for ASCL some of which are available from the ASCL website on DVD. Additional material is available on the website as ‘Schools financial efficiency: strategic financial planning.
Sam has particular interest and expertise in making the link between finance and timetable structures and in the use of financial targets in whole school strategic management. In that context has worked with both LA maintained schools and Academies and the EFA on strategic financial planning including the construction of recovery plans.
Sam approaches support for schools by initially analysing basic financial and curriculum information to ascertain where the school is. He then aims to work in partnership with senior leaders at the school to draw up a strategic plan linking solvency to curriculum delivery. Sam’s key purpose is to leave a school with a working strategic plan and a set of tools linking finance and curriculum so that the school can sustain a solvent path through the changing and austere times ahead whilst delivering the optimum curriculum for its students in the context of available funding and funding reform.
Graeme Hornsby Graeme has over 20 years experience as School Business Manager in a large secondary school where he also provided shared business management support to the family of primary schools. He has initiated and undertaken budget and service reviews and led staffing restructures and re-orgaisations. As a consultant he has worked with individual schools and academy trusts to assist with reviews of their budgets as well as other consultancy work including support for governance, internal audit and assistance with the recruitment of school business managers. He also undertakes representative and consultancy work for a number of other organisations including ASCL, New Schools Network and The Key.

While Graeme’s approach is tailored to the needs and circumstances of the individual school, the most common approach involves an initial diagnostic visit to establish current circumstances and look at anticipated external and internal factors over the next 2-3 years.

Where a financial review is deemed appropriate this normally operates at the following levels:

• Economies from good housekeeping - e.g. ensuring procurement is effective, overheads are minimised, effective financial procedures are in place for budget setting, monitoring and reporting and the assessment and implication of budget variances.
• Efficiency and effectiveness - e.g. staffing deployment and effectiveness of services. This may also include benchmarking of current and projected budgets and staffing structures (rather than historic costs).
• Scope and provision - is the offer appropriate, affordable and sustainable?
More recent reviews have also explored the potential for effective partnership working via informal arrangements such as joint procurement or through more formal mechanisms such as joint staffing appointments or multi academy trust arrangements.

b) Details of teaching school alliances outside of Camden that have offered their expertise in financial management through the National Teaching School Council.

Teaching School

Head/Main contact


Valentines High School

Richard Laws

London secondary teaching school in Redbridge (20.5%FSM)

Wyvern Federation

Christopher Toye

London primary federation in Lambeth (44.9%FSM)

Sheringham Primary School

Gary Wilkie /Raheema Patel

London primary teaching school in Newham (21.8%FSM)

Schools are welcome to choose any of the below and will need to contact the Camden Schools Business Unit by emailing to express interest in taking up the offer, the preferred support, and possible dates. The Business Unit will liaise with the consultant and once a date has been agreed will ask the school to make an on-line booking via the normal portal.

It will be for the headteacher to agree the exact focus and extent of the support required. Consultants/schools will be asked to provide a short written summary of the support that was provided and the conclusions reached. The format of this output and how it will be used should be agreed in advance between the school and the consultant. Headteachers should be reminded that if recommendations for future staffing changes arise from the consultancy process it is their responsibility to seek further advice from Camden Schools HR on how these could be implemented in the Camden context.

An alternative approach would be for a School Cluster working together to agreeing to pool their days and Camden adding two days - one at either end of the exercise to plan the potential the intervention as a cluster and then reviewing / evaluating the outputs at the end of the process. In this case the Cluster members are required to provide a concise written summary of the support that was provided and the conclusions reached. The format of this output; and how it will be used should be agreed in advance between the schools and the consultant. In this case Headteachers may have different consequences staffing changes arise from the consultancy process it is their responsibility to seek further advice from Camden Schools HR on how these could be implemented in their school

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