ICFP, Integrated Curriculum Finance Planning, coined by Kate Copley a Deputy Director within the Department for Education(DFE),is the term that the DFE is now using to describe a process that has had a number of names in recent years. Some will recognise‘CurriculumLed Finance Planning’(CLFP)used by Outward Grange Academy Trust(OGAT)and various NPQH/NPQEL providers to describe a process. OGAT developed a practice within their academies, under the leadership of Sir Michael Wilkins and now Martyn Oliver, within their school improvement arsenal focussed on ensuringestablishmentsran within budget and were capable of investing finances in education practices. OtherMulti Academy Trusts(MATS)have worked on developing similar methodologies, to ensure budget control using spreadsheet based analysis of metrics.
To explore ICFP a little further let us look at some principles.For an education establishment to work it must buy sufficient staff to deliver the curriculum it has designed. Establishing the shape and size of the required staffing around the curriculum provision which is right and affordable for the number of children within the school determines the principle of‘CurriculumLed’ or‘Integrated Curriculum and Finance Planning.’ The impossible dream of achieving both broad and balancedcurriculum and financial control is possible and hence the process we call SMARTcurriculum!
If we accept that staffing is the largest expense(usually80% of total cost in the secondary sector and 90% in the Primary) because we buy the staffing to deliver the curriculum that we design, then gaining a good understanding of the curriculum size is key to controlling the budget with all the moral purpose and breadth that it should contain. Of course there are factors that impact the provision; leadership and management time to control the quality of delivery; issues around the number oflearners within theestablishment(thePupil Admission Number) often set without any understanding of the implications to efficiency; falling and increasing roll and local competition for places within the and; the building contract provision with the Private Funded Initiative(PFI)where some staff are contracted through external services, often the company that is providing the service contract.
So, what we come to is the main question“whatare the measures that we use to control the key spending in an establishment?” The definition laid out by the Department forEducationICFP team includes some key purposes and 7 metrics.
Establishing a strategic plan looking several years ahead.
Identifying a curriculum to meetlearnersneeds based on pupil data.
Refining this through whole team discussion including business professionals.
Making decisions based on key data/metrics.
Bench-marking these againstestablishmentsin similar circumstances.
Re-iterating these until there is a curriculum that is affordable.
Teacher Contact Ratio
Average Class Size
Average Teacher Cost
Percentage of expenditure on teaching staff
Senior Leadership FTE(FullTime Equivalent) as a percentage of total teaching FTE
Learner(Pupil)Adult Ratio(i.e.All staff FTE)
There will be many other metrics that impact on each of the seven factors above, the key is to understand them and consider the elements that impact them.
What matters and what determines the major spend? The major impact is the size of the curriculum as this determines the major cost of running an establishment. Failing to understand its impact or relying on legacy or historical structures is making a major impact on our current funding pressures. This resultant practice is described by its title,‘IntegratedCurriculum and Finance Planning’ and will impact the major spend for any educational organisation. The outcome cannot be understated;the goal of a balanced budget is not such an impossible dream!