31 March 2020
By Thomas Harding

Schools Financial Services Newsletter - March 2020

COVID-19

Schools Financial Services are working a reduced Help Desk during the COVID-19 pandemic.  You can still continue to call our Help Desk number 03000 415 415, but please be patient if we are not able to answer immediately.

If you would prefer, please e-mail us and we will get back to you as soon as we can.

We hope you are all safe and well during this difficult time.  In order to keep you updated, we will communicate where appropriate via e-mail and BPS notifications.

Schools should regularly look at the Covid-19 updates on www.kelsi.org.uk for information on operating during the period of lockdown. This information can be found under:

News and Events/News/Coronavirus

Updated Pupil Premium Allocations for 2019 to 2020

The ESFA have updated the published pupil premium allocations for 2019 to 2020 to reflect quarter 4 payments. Please click the link to find out more: https://www.gov.uk

Kent Scheme Pay Award

The new Kent Scheme Pay Award, which takes effect as of the 1 April 2020, has been published on the KELSI website.

This can be found at: https://www.kelsi.org.uk/news-and-events/news/primary/annual-kent-scheme-pay-award

Consistent Financial Reporting (CFR) Framework 2020 to 2021

We have published the consistent financial reporting framework for 2020 to 2021. This guidance helps schools collect information about their income and expenditure.

The CFR framework provides a template for schools to collect information about their income and expenditure by financial years.

The CFR framework applies to maintained schools and pupil referral units. It’s optional for nurseries and non-maintained special schools.

This can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/consistent-financial-reporting-framework-2020-to-2021

FSM Advice

  • Vouchers are not required for UIFSM Pupils Only FSM pupils should be given vouchers for meals.
  • The expectation is for schools to continue to provide free school meals if the school is closed temporarily - although the guidance does not specify Easter Holidays.

For further advice surrounding FSM please use the following link: https://www.gov.uk/ 

This site gets updated regularly and will answer the majority of questions surrounding FSM.

Budget Setting 2020-21

All users of the Budget Planning Software (BPS) will shortly see a new release applied to their sites.

Version 12 has additional functionality that will help with updating employees from April 2020.

Release notes will be added to the Help & User Guidance shortly.

The Next Year menu of the sites, which enables 2020-21 budget setting will be open shortly.  The pay information in the background will need to be updated once the menu is open, please DO NOT update any employee information during this time.  A notification will be added to the BPS to advise users once this has been completed.

Saving Employee Reports 2019-20

A Term Time Only formula will be applied to non-teaching job roles in the BPS for schools and academies from 1 April 2020.

Please download and save any employee reports from 19-20 prior to this date as this will alter the calculation of the paid weeks in the BPS after this date.

Details of how to apply this calculation will be included in the BPS Budget Setting Guidance available shortly.

Please save your 2019-20 Employee Reports before the end of the day on 31 March 2020.

Helpdesk Closure

We would like to make all schools aware that the Helpdesk will be closed on 7 April 2020.

If you still have any queries please e-mail us at: schoolsfinancialservices@theeducationpeople.org and we will respond as soon as we can.

In This Issue

  • COVID-19
  • Important Deadlines
  • Updated pupil premium Allocations for 2019 to 2020
  • Consistent Financial Reporting (CFR) Free School Meals (FSM)
  • Kent Scheme Pay Awards
  • Budget Setting 2020-21BCM - Classcare Rebate for previous years
  • NatWest Paying In Books
  • ESFA High Needs Update

And More!

Important Deadlines

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who have submitted their Closedown Information by 24 March 2020 or before.

This is even more appreciated due to the difficult times we find ourselves in.

Don't forget there are still some important deadlines due this month, including Schools Financial Value Standard.

Please submit your school's SFVS by 31 March 2020 to sfvs@theeducationpeople.org

All returns need to be submitted to sfsreturns@theeducationpeople.org

Free School Meal Vouchers

Any Kent schools needing to purchase Free School Meal vouchers can do so using their Corporate Cards but may need to increase their monthly and single transaction limits to do so.

Please download the changes form from www.kelsi.org.uk and e-mail to:

schoolsfinancialservices@theeducationpeople.org

Schools who have increased their limits should also review their finance policy and make any necessary amendments.

If any school has queries regarding Free School Meal (FSM) Vouchers, please visit: www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-free-school-meal-guidance

This page is getting updated regurlarly so any queries you may have will most likely have been addressed here.

Scam E-Mails

We ask that all schools be vigilant when it comes to Scam e-mails as schools are being targeted especially when purchasing Free School Meal vouchers.

BCM - Classcare Rebate for Previous Years

To clarify that any Classcare rebate that relates to previous years will be allowed as an allowable exception to the BCM limit under late Allocation.

NatWest Paying In Books

NatWest have issued schools with new paying in books with a change to the design of the credit slips.

Letters were sent out in February 2020 regarding this and schools should begin using these straight away.

Employee Start Dates

When using BPS to setup or amend employees, please can you ensure you type out the start date as full year as in the example below:

01/01/1998

The reason for this is that if you shorten the year eg. 98 instead of 1998 the year will default to 2098.  This can easily be missed causing issues with budgeting and monitoring, as well as employee pay.

ESFA High Needs Update

The ESFA have updated the high needs: allocated place numbers for 2019 to 2020 for academies.  Please visit the gov.uk website for further details.