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The no surprises approach to budget management

Tailored training

This course is only available on a consultancy basis where we come to you. 

Course description

Are you a head teacher, budget manager or school business leader who wants to be able to sleep at night knowing that any budget issue is taken into account and your year-end outturn won't be a surprise or a shock?  Then this programme is for you.  This course presents a process that you can use easily to capture your budget performance to date and see how that might roll on for the rest of the financial year.  It will tell you whether, based on your current performance to date and continuing trends, you need to escalate your budget performance to a higher level and take remedial action early to avoid problems.

Using a specially-designed template, participants practice the process using an interactive case study on which they take management decisions, impose the cost consequences of those decisions on the template and have an immediate understanding of what the year-end outturn will look like. This template is made free of charge to participants, and it is only available through this programme.

Pre-course preparation

A general awareness of budget management and reporting procedures in your school is preferable, but it's not essential.


Please bring laptops.  Electronic templates will be provided.

Course facilitator

Larraine Cooper

Aim of this course

  • understand the basic checks and balances needed to ensure that budget performance is accurately assessed and reported
  • use a specially-designed template and make a start on developing an accurate forward plan of likely budget performance and utilisation
  • be able to "read the story" that your school's budget report tells, including whether the budget is supporting school development plan objectives
  • work with others on a case study to interpret a budget printout, identify issues, assess the impact on the year-end, evaluate whether there is a need for further controls and identify possible remedial actions to governors
  • leave the programme with structures, procedures and skills to put in place approaches in your workplace to deliver "no surprises" budget reports in the future

This course is suitable for

School business leaders and finance officer with responsibility for reporting budget performance to governors. It is also suitable for head teachers, deputy head teachers, assistant head teachers and governors with finance responsibility.