The BFR requires 5 years trust financial data:
- 2021/22 - this will be information submitted from last year’s audit accounts and accounts return;
- 2022/23 - this will be based on the Trust’s financial information up to 31 March 2023 and an estimate from 1 April 2023 to 31 August 2023;
- 2023/24 - estimated detailed financial information for the year to 31 August 2024;
- 2024/25 and 2025/26 - estimated summarised financial information for the year to 31 August 2025 and 31 August 2026.
Forecasting is never easy as you will need to make assumptions around income and costs such as:
- Pupil numbers and local trends based on demographics;
- Estimating national funding formula per pupil as well as considering minimum funding guarantees;
- Changes in pupil premium funding and mix of pupils with special needs.
- Pay awards for staff;
- Any structural or curriculum changes;
- Staff turnover estimates;
- Changes in staffing increments;
- TPS contribution rate changes;
- LGPS contribution rate changes;
- Non staff cost inflation based on say CPI;
- Contingency planning for unexpected costs.
Trusts with reserves of more than 20% of income will be required to have a clear plan and rationale for the decision to hold reserves at that level, for example:
- Capital works;
- Planned repairs;
- Strategic development of the Trust;
- Growth of existing schools in the Trust.
Where capital projects are planned, details will be required of any forecast capital income, expenditure and loans.
The next steps
If your Trust needs any help or guidance in completing your Budget Forecast Return, please contact your local UHY Partner.