Blog: Government to collectively ‘unlock £1 billion of efficiencies to reinvest excellent school outcomes’

‘School Resource Management:  Building a stronger system’ published by the DfE this month, is the new strategy that outlines how the DfE “will work with schools and academy trusts to empower school leaders, executive leaders, school business professionals and boards to make effective financial decisions, which target valuable resources towards the best outcomes for pupils”.

This document identifies systems and structures that will be supported by government to help schools and trusts find £1 billion of savings to prepare for and manage their rising energy and other costs.  In this article, while certainly recognising the relevance of the ideas in this document and much of the philosophy and thinking at the core, I wish to include some thoughts on the wider national and sector issues currently faced by schools.

  • SEND – Not enough funding in high needs block, not enough funding in main school SEND budget – notional amount does not cover the amount of support schools give. Tough decisions have to be made about what is needed and what is affordable and ‘despite the continuing and unprecedented investment, the system is not financially sustainable’. (SEND Review – March 2022).  We need all need to respond to this consultation paper, which closes on 22 July.
  • Inflation – The sudden and continuing increases in fuel and energy costs during this academic year means that school bills are rising, including procurement costs, with no additions for already overstretched budgets.
  • Staffing costs – Recruiting the best staff and rewarding those who take extra responsibilities remains a challenge whether for classroom, admin finance staff, (who will be at the centre of the SRM strategy), while accepting many staff work for nothing at times e.g. covering lunches and clubs.
  • Training – Rising costs of school and trust identified CPD to ensure high-quality staff is at the centre of school improvement. To what degree will the “6 million tutoring courses by 2024 with action to have a cement one-to-one and small group tuition as a permanent feature of our school system” will be supported in school budgets?
  • ICT – New updates to Windows, IOS etc. have high impact on schools and a lot of technology will not be fit for purpose. Maintaining the infrastructure whilst investing in new technology for pupils is not supported well from central government, capital allocations for many schools and trusts is not enough.
  • Pupil premium – Many pupils are not eligible due to the low threshold, so schools and trusts recognise needs, want to do more but do not have enough to make a difference. Increased pupil premium funding is essential to ensure ‘levelling up’ is achieved for these pupils.
  • Leadership – Headteachers retiring early and schools and trusts having difficulty recruiting new leaders at all levels, which will also directly influence the success of SRM.

It is clear the government is aware of the above issues and many more, and ‘Building a stronger system’ has much to recommend.  Although, despite re-assurances this week, my experience leads me to ask the question ‘will all schools and trusts have control of the savings made using the tools outlined in SRM?’.  So, I finish with positive expectation of the answer with the words of Robin Walker MP, Minister of State for School Standards: –

“We know that teachers succeed by their outstanding commitment, professionalism, and creativity but they also need the right resources and the support of others who work alongside them – within and outside the classroom.

This government is committed to levelling up opportunity for all children and young people. We have delivered the biggest funding boost for schools and academy trusts in a decade, and continue to deliver year-on-year, real terms per pupil increases to school funding.”

Enjoy your end of year events, successes and celebrations.


John Croghan M.Ed. BA. Cert.Ed.

If you would like to speak to John please email john.croghan@evaluate-ed.com.

Content Development and Monitoring

John Croghan M.Ed. BA. CertEd. has over 50 years of experience in education, as a teacher, leading learning in classrooms from EYFS to Y11, as well as a leader and primary headteacher.  He enjoyed his role supporting Every Child Matters in schools and has advised and supported schools across the West Midlands, as well as leading OFSTED inspections.   He is currently a school consultant, mentor, and governor. 

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