Everything you need to know about Integrated Curriculum Financial Planning (ICFP)
If your academy successfully applied for the MAT Development Improvement Fund, you’ll need to undertake an ICFP evaluation. But what is it, why do you need it and how do you go about organising one? As a specialist academy accountancy firm, Griffin has the expertise required to carry out ICFP evaluations and is happy to answer any questions you might have.
What is the MAT Development Improvement Fund?
The Multi-Academy Trust (MAT) Development and Improvement Fund (MDIF) is a government initiative to improve schools. It has a particular focus on encouraging social mobility. Grants of £50,000 to £100,000 are available for trusts seeking to improve at least two schools. These grants can be used for a variety of purposes, including setting up or expanding a MAT, paying for teaching staff and providing continuous professional development for the leadership team.
Why do we need an ICFP evaluation?
Academies are under huge financial pressure and simply cannot afford not to spend money as prudently as possible. All academies need to ensure that they’re delivering the best possible education for their students with the funds they have available. To do that, you need a robust, sustainable financial strategy. An ICFP evaluation can identify areas where you can save money, so you can allocate more budget where it’s most needed. In short, an ICFP evaluation can help you to deliver the best curriculum for the money you have available, now and in the future. For this reason, an ICFP evaluation is a requirement for the MDIF.
What does the ICFP cover?
Your financial evaluation will look at several areas, including:
Cost per lesson (based on teaching costs)
Teacher contact ratio (what percentage of a teacher’s time is spent actually teaching)
Curriculum headroom (how your MAT’s class sizes compare to other academies)
The results of the evaluation can help your leadership team to refine each academy’s curriculum and make informed decisions, such as whether more teaching staff are needed. One of the key benefits of an ICFP evaluation is that it allows you to benchmark your academies [KD1] against others of a similar size, giving you a clearer idea of where your strengths and weaknesses lie.
Do we have to pay for the ICFP?
Not if you successfully applied for the MAT Development Improvement Fund, as your ICFP evaluation will then be funded by an additional grant.
Do we only need an ICFP evaluation if we applied for the MAT Development Improvement Fund?
While the ICFP is a requirement for funding, it’s also extremely valuable in its own right. It can also be carried out for single academies, as well as MATs. Academies minister Lord Agnew said of the ICFP, “It combines the planning of the curriculum with the planning of the budget as a joint exercise. When done well, it produces a curriculum that meets pupils’ needs and is affordable.”
Who carries out the ICFP evaluation?
The evaluation has to be carried out by an independent financial expert, who has the expertise to work through the necessary calculations and identify areas for improvement. That person also needs to be able to take an impartial view in order to deliver unbiased, accurate results. Griffin specialises in supporting academies and has several staff members trained to deliver ICFP evaluations. These are challenging times for schools; let us help.
Where can we find out more?
We’d be happy to talk to you about how an ICFP evaluation could benefit your academy, and answer any questions you may have. Please call us on 01404 41977 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
You may also be interested in the Department for Education’s collection of School Resource Management tools, case studies and articles.