You will produce this using the template provided by the DfE. The information provided in your budget plan should be consistent with other parts of your application e.g. the staffing structure and pupil numbers in the education plan should match the figures in your budget.
In the 'Notes/assumptions' column of the DfE's financial template, or in a nattative in the main application form, you should explain your approach to completing the financial template, and the thinking behind decisions you have made. As part of this, you need to clearly explain the assumptions you have made about income and expenditure and show that these are both realistic and appropriate – for example, by saying that you have based these on the budget of a similar school to your proposed school.
Besides Section D (education plan), this section of the application form is likely to take the most amount of time to complete. Since it should reflect and be developed in conjunction with your educational plan, it will almost certainly need a number of iterations.
You should therefore ensure that you dedicate enough time and resources to it in order to be able to do this successfully. The DfE will see the quality of your financial plans as an indicator of the financial expertise within your group, as well as whether your free school would be financially viable. If you cannot convince the DfE that your free school would be financially sound or that you have the capacity to make effective financial decisions, then you are extremely unlikely to be approved.
Other useful resources
- Our guidance on completing your budget plan.
- Detailed section-by-section guidance can be found in our mainstream handbook.
- When you are ready to fill in your budget template use our video walk-through of each section.
- Financial benchmarking website for schools: This can be accessed using a Guest Login.
- School Teachers Pay and Conditions Document (Reference:DFE-00091-2012) this gives details of current national teachers’ pay scales and conditions.
- The Education Funding Agency has training videos that explain how academies are funded and provide bite-size updates about different elements of schools funding.
- Details of Academies income and expenditure for 2011-12 can be downloaded from this page
- You can see relative spending on academies by local authorities here
- NSN's library of resources for open and pre-open free schools has a wide range of resources relating to finance issues specific to free schools.
- Schools funding arrangements 2016-17 - DfE guidance on funding levels for schools.
- Schools financial health and efficiency - DfE collection of information, tools, training and guidance to help schools improve their financial management and efficiency.