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Key Elements (Secondary): Managing the Budget

This page has been archived. The content was correct at the time of original publication, but is no longer updated.
Created on 04 November 2009 by ncetm_administrator
Updated on 07 April 2010 by ncetm_administrator

Features of effective practice

An effective budgeting strategy:
  • specifies the budget in terms of two elements – one which is dedicated to consumables (e.g. textbooks and stationery) and the other dedicated to resourcing the developmental needs of the staff (e.g. teaching and learning projects, peer observation, joint planning, etc.)
  • allocates funding strategically in order to support the priorities in the Mathematics Improvement Plan
  • links funds to specified actions within the Improvement Plan so that the budget is a tool which services the needs of the plan
  • ensures that the budget is regularly reviewed to check that the needs of the schools are being met
  • provides for regular liaison between the subject leader and the school’s finance officer

Case Study 1: School A – Strategic Planning

I have found it helpful to establish a spreadsheet to support budgeting in the long-term (the current academic year and beyond), medium-term (this academic year) and short term (each quarter) basis.

medium budget spreadsheet

Medium term budget

    2008-09  Total
£5 000
 Teaching resources including consumables    800 200    1 000 
 Learning resources 300  600    350  1 250
 ICT resources    750  0    750
 External Speakers  0  0  0  500  500
 CPD  0  450  450  0  900
 Contingency   300    300  600
   300 3 050 500 1150  
     Balance  £0

Short term example (2nd Quarter, July - November)

  2nd Quarter
Teaching resources including consumables  
Exercise books, graph paper, rulers, calculators 800
Learning resources  
Multilink cubes 300
MIni-wipeboards 200
Mirrors 100
ICT Resources  
Dynamic geometry software 300
Annual subscriptions 450
Peer observation (3 supply days) 600

The CPD part of the budget links directly to the identified priorities in our Mathematics Improvement Plan. This quarter will account for three of the six planned peer observation days (see the ‘Improvement Planning’ key element).

Case Study 2: School B – Responding to the New Programmes of Study

In response to the new Key Stage 3 programme of study I have identified that the department needs to focus on developing teaching strategies and styles to address the process skills. This was an action point in our department improvement plan and funding was allocated to allow teachers to visit other schools, work with the LA consultant in school and to fund collaborative planning and peer observation. Funding to support the monitoring and evaluation of the plan was also included.

Underpinning Principle No. 3: Investing in People
Maths Dept focus: Sharing good practice
Key Issue Action / Strategy Lead staff and other personnel Success Criteria Resources / Finance Required Timescale Monitoring
1 Peer observation system in place SAL Staff in Maths department to have observed at least one other member of the department.
Staff in the maths department to have visited other departments to observe good practice
Supply/cover 6 x 1 day = £900 to be funded from Consultant support money provided by LA CRO to arrange and accompany staff on visit where possible (no funding needed) First observation by December 2008. Feedback to happen in first available Dept meeting. CRO and SAL summer 2008

Case Study 3: School C – Getting the most from a small budget

I am a subject leader in a small rural school. My budget for mathematics is small compared to other subject leaders in the county. Here are some top tips which I have found useful to help me get the most from a small budget.

1. Improvement plan: ensure that your departmental improvement plan makes it clear what funding is required. This can be used to explain and justify your bid for funding.
2. Audit: make sure you have a clear idea of the resources you currently have. Things can get hidden away or forgotten about. Ask your team what their needs are.
3. Planning: with the team following aligned schemes of work, there will be a pressure for equipment at similar times. Think carefully about what impact this will have on resources.
4. Be precise: give precise detail about what you need. Specify the exact resources, the number of each item and the exact cost. Present this information with your bid for funding.
5. See the bigger picture: do not be afraid to consult with your headteacher if things can be taken from other areas; e.g. assessment can have a heavy budget line, and materials such as Testbase or revision guides could be taken from this.
6. Photocopy less: Photocopying can take up an enormous proportion of the budget. Cut down on unnecessary copying, and develop a system to re-use materials wherever possible.
7. Shop around: as a subject leader you are bombarded with offers all the time for resources. It is always best to look around and ring up to see what offers are available. When you are buying in bulk, companies are very happy to give discounts.
8. Listen!: listen out for further funding opportunities throughout the year. Be proactive when such opportunities arise and make good use of any funding that results.
9. Spend!: Budgets are not usually carried forward. If you don’t spend your budget, it may influence your capitation for the following year.


What would Ofsted say?

The report Mathematics: understanding the score offers a range of external perspectives, examples of good practice and indications of national trends and standards which can be very helpful to a subject leader.

While there are no paragraphs specifically related to managing the budget, you can download the report from the Ofsted website.

Links to the Secondary Magazine’s ‘Diary of a subject leader’

The NCETM Secondary Magazine, published fortnightly, has a number of features of interest to those working in secondary education. These include ideas for the classroom, 5 things to do, the diary of a subject leader – and Up2d8 maths, which uses topical news as a starting point for further mathematical study.

We have included in this section links to the Diary of a subject leader items which relate to the issue of managing the budget.

Reflection and Next steps

  • reflect on the features of effective practice and think about what key areas within ‘Managing the budget’ you want to develop now
  • look through the case studies and the excerpts from the Ofsted report Mathematics: understanding the score and decide whether there are any tasks or actions you might want to take that are prompted by these
  • use the NCETM Personal Learning Space to record any personal reflections, actions or tasks
  • from policy to practice.

Use this pro-forma to support you in planning your next steps.

Going Further

 Secondary Home
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