Dear Lord Agnew,
I read, with great interest, your comments in last November’s TES about school finance. It is certainly true that a great deal can be done to improve the way schools manage contracts and procure services. Thank you for the work you have been doing.
I believe the most significant work needs to be done on the curriculum and staffing. This makes sense as staffing accounts for more than 75% of a school budget.
We have been working with CJ-Learning Technologies who provide a relatively inexpensive online App (SMARTcurriculum App) for analyzing the cost of the curriculum. I have found this to be an invaluable tool for up-skilling my leadership team. The questions raised simply by filling in the data entry pages have changed the way we think about curriculum planning, teacher deployment and support staff management.
In a few months we have identified curriculum enhancements to the value of £145,000 and begun to map this to our high needs funding for the best use of support staff. Most importantly we have a clear road map to ensure that every penny we spend on staffing can be properly measured in terms of outcomes for our young people.
I am aware of other tools in use by schools that are free. However, we have appreciated the support available from CJ-Learning, the simplicity of the data entry process and the power of the analysis provided by the App. The reports are straightforward and easy to understand. We have also had easy access to consultants with headship experience who really understand the challenges faced by schools.
I commend the SMARTcurriculum App to you as an excellent way to help school leaders target financial resources for maximum impact.
Janice Allen Headteacher
Falinge Park High School, Falinge Road, Shawclough, Rochdale, Lancs. OL12 6LD. tel: 01706 631246
fax: 01706 646538