I went on a governors' finance training course last night. I had asked to go because I always get in a panic about the FGB finance meeting and I find I don't understand the accounts (I find it hard enough keeping on top of my own bank statements!)
Anyway, I was pleased to find myself in a room with other governors who found themselves in the same position as me - always good to know you are not alone!
By the end of the training, I felt much happier and I have bulleted below the key things I found out:
1) The per capita amount schools get is based on the ACTUAL PRESENCE on a particular day (in our LA in January). So, if lots of kids are absent, funding goes down. (Perhaps worth having a 'special day' on that day to get the harder to reach children in?)
2) Primary schools can carry over 5% of their funding to the next year, secondary 8% without it being clawed back.
3) Financial budgets no longer have to be approved by the whole GB - the finance committee can do this with the Chair (who should be on that committee) signing it off.
4) The school's version of the budget is generally much more detailed than the version sent to the LA, and governors need not go into this detail - it is needed on a management, but not strategic level. That said - this is the bit I have wasted hours on trying to understand, and I know that I am not alone. We have decided that we will look into laying out the sub-sections within the same headings as the LA provide, to make this easier to understand in future.
5) FMSiS is now compulsory for primary as well as secondary schools. Most people who have done it found it a nightmare paperchase, but also found one or two things that could be improved upon so deemed it worth doing. However, my understanding is that the whole point of FMSiS is to prevent fraud and that auditors were going to visit every three years to check on schools' financial practises. Apparently (and this is only hear-say, so don't quote me on it!) there are no longer funds to do this and schools probably won't be getting any further auditing visits!
There were a few other points, but I left my notes in the car and my husband has taken them to work. WIll post again tomorrow.