Specialist free schools services

Free schools are state-funded institutions set up in response to demand from local communities. We work with a number of Free Schools around the UK and have experience of working with over 360 similarly structured academy schools and Free Schools. As such, we understand that independence from your Local Authority is likely to require stringent internal controls for your school’s finances.

Whether you are submitting an application to open a special or alternative Free School, are a single-academy trust or a multi-academy trust establishing a new Free School, or are already in the process of becoming established, we can advise on your application and on your model funding agreement.

We are able to give guidance on Free School Revenue funding and can provide assistance with your use of the Ready Reckoner tool to maximise your school’s financial efficiencies.  Our experienced team can support you in adhering to the rules of procurement and we can advise you in securing best-value outcomes to reduce the risk of mistakes when producing goods, works or services for your school in its critical first year.

Our services to Free Schools and academy trusts include:

  • information to be considered in establishing a Free School;
  • year end statutory audit and Accounts Return completion;
  • preparation of your accounts in line with the EFA Accounts Direction and Charity SORP;
  • Teachers’ Pension and Local Government audits;
  • advice in connection with the Financial Handbook;
  • advice with completion of the Financial Management  and Governance Self-Assessment Return (FMGP);
  • internal audit and monitoring visits to provide assurance on systems and controls throughout the year;
  • VAT reviews and advice on the best method for your school to reclaim VAT;
  • advice on the best structure for commercial trading activities, such as the use of subsidiaries;
  • assistance with the preparation of  March Accounts return;
  • assistance with Budget Forecasts;
  • employment tax issues;
  • governor training;
  • establishing key financial policies and procedures including risk management and internal control;
  • assistance with choosing and setting up an appropriate accounting system;
  • bookkeeping and support to your finance function, including interim appointments; and
  • the preparation of management accounts to aide reporting to governors.

The next step

If you would like to discuss the accounting services that we can provide for your free school, please contact one of our Free Schools specialists at your nearest location, or complete the contact form.