Ofsted to consider school finances in the future

Published by Phil Reynolds on 23 September 2019

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The government recently announced that they are looking to work with Ofsted to introduce a ‘financial rating’ for schools as part of future inspections. The proposed rating, for financial management and oversight, is to ensure best practice is shared across the sector.

It is not clear when the rating will be introduced but this is another clear step by government to crackdown on school finances to ensure they are taken seriously across the board. The DfE have recently launched a consultation on the financial transparency in local authority maintained schools and academy trusts which contains a range of proposals to improve consistency across the sector in terms of robust financial management.

The big question posing this proposed change is will Ofsted inspectors have the necessary expertise to give schools and academies a ‘financial rating’? Surely this will require considerable retraining of the existing inspection workforce and perhaps even act as a deterrent to the rest of the review which is surely more important? Or will Ofsted look to recruit specialists in finance to their inspection team?

Obviously this is a significant piece of work and will take time to be implemented correctly, but schools and trusts should be taking note of recent developments and ensuring that finance is considered an important area – it would seem the government feel this has not been the case for some time.

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