The Governing Board of Ermysted’s Grammar School has decided to publish material about the School’s financial position in its desire to ensure openness, transparency and best practice concerning all information about the School.
As a Local Authority maintained school, Ermysted’s financial information is recorded and reported via North Yorkshire County Council to the Department for Education (“DfE”) using a standardised approach which allows for the consolidation of records under terminology and headings which are not necessarily clear to non-expert readers.
Therefore, the School has simplified the information into a format which the Governors believe is more accessible.
The information has been validated by the Local Authority following the end of each financial year and separately the School has also engaged the services of an independent professional firm to audit the records and confirm their accuracy.
Notes to the accounts
The School receives income from the DfE via the Local Authority for pupils aged from 11 to 16. The amount is based on the number of pupils and a fixed amount per pupil, but further subject to some minor adjustments to the total. For example, in the case Ermysted’s, there is an additional allowance to compensate for the fact that the School has to use sports pitches elsewhere as there are limited facilities at the School site.
The School receives funding for students in the Sixth Form based on a different methodology, but again essentially determined on the basis of the number of students in Year 12 and Year 13.
The third stream of Government funding is provided to support particular groups, specifically those who qualify for Pupil Premium or who have additional educational needs. The amount of money from this stream can vary quite significantly from year-to-year depending on the actual cohort of pupils at the School. This money is ring-fenced to be used in support of those pupils and a separate explanation of how that money has been spent is provided each year on the School’s website.
Ermysted’s position is complicated slightly by the fact that it is a Voluntary-Aided Foundation School. As a consequence the Governors (the School) are usually required to contribute 10% of the Capital Funding allocated from the School’s revenue budget or from its reserves.
This Voluntary-Aided status has also meant that for many years, such money has been transferred by DfE to the Foundation and drawn down by the School as and when required largely to support maintenance and repairs.
The summary information provided distinguishes between the annual allowance provided for maintenance and repairs and project specific funding awarded for particular projects as a result of bids submitted to the DfE and the Local Authority.
Where some Capital Funding has been awarded or allocated to particular projects it has not always been transferred from the Foundation to the School at the same time as the project has been completed because the DfE may only provide the money several weeks after the completion of a project.
This can affect the numbers shown in the accounts and has been the case in each of the last three years where projects have been completed (and expenditure incurred by the School) in one financial year but the associated income not transferred from the Foundation to the School until the following period.
The School has recovered from a challenging financial position a few years ago which had forecast a cumulative deficit by 2020/21 and accumulated money in its reserves in each of the last two years through careful control of costs and prudent financial management, for example operating with a smaller Senior Leadership Team than other comparable schools and renegotiating external contracts.
Financial reserves have been increased which allowed a number of investments during the course of 2019/20. These included:
£27,384 – refurbishment of Memorial Hall;
£42,606 – resurfacing of driveways and footpaths;
£30,702 – waterproofing and refurbishment of subterranean Maths Faculty office;
£57,995 – installation of CCTV network and associated upgrade of infrastructure and server capacity;
£18,776 – replacement of all desktop computers in one computer teaching room;
£14,950 – roof repairs to English Block;
£12,225 – replacement of Sports Hall floor;
£10,821 – redecoration of classrooms;
£24,768 – additional perimeter fencing to improve safeguarding and site security;
£3,873 – Sixth Form Block doors.
The impact of the cost of these investments (to the extent that they exceeded the specific grants secured which totalled £122,955), is presented as a revenue contribution to capital expenditure, but could alternatively be considered as funding drawn from reserves; either way the net impact was a reduction in the School’s reserves to £452,100 at the end of 2019/20 financial year. No money was drawn down from the Devolved Formula Capital Grant in 2019/20 and this will be used In 2020/21.
The Governing Board believes that it would be prudent to maintain a level of financial reserves in the order of £300,000 to £400,000 against the need for unforeseen capital expenditure or to contribute towards significant future investment.