Way back in the early days of the COVID crisis we were asked whether it would be possible to use ICFP methodology to address the logistical challenges facing schools.   Sam and I pulled together a couple of spreadsheets that could help juggle rooms, staff, children, both in school and at home. That seems ages ago and I hope that we won’t need a tool for managing reduced provision again.

Then along came bubbles….

We have adapted the primary planning tool to work with bubbles.  It helps to bring together the organisation of children with the deployment of staff, whilst noting where the risks lie.

What has this got to do with integrated strategic planning?

The Effervesce approach to education-centred strategic financial planning is designed to secure financial security and squeeze every ounce of educational benefit from a limited budget.  It places pupils at the heart.

We believe that the very first building block for your strategic plan is a clear sense of the children and young people that will be with you over the next few years – how many there are, what their needs and challenges are, your vision for their outcomes.  And the second key element is clarity about how you are going to organise them into teaching groups and what extra support they, and their teachers, need.  Sound familiar?  The Bubbles spreadsheet can double up as a means of giving real clarity to your starting point for that plan.

What is so hard about that?

I have worked with some really successful schools and trusts, with a clear insight into the school improvement journey and the challenges ahead.  Sometimes, however, it is just a teeny bit harder to get clarity over how many children and staff there are, the way children and organised into teaching groups, and how teaching and education staff are deployed.  Which makes it harder to roll those plans forward and spot the risks and the moments for change.  It makes it harder to build a financial plan.

Right now, for everyone’s safety, you need to get really clear about these things.  This spreadsheet provides not only a means of capturing the current COVID plan but can be a starting point for your education-centred strategic financial plan or integrated curriculum and financial plan.

This won’t be for everyone.  I know that not everyone loves a spreadsheet like I do, but there is usually someone on the senior team who gets a buzz when it all fits together.

If you would like to harness the level of detail you are currently required to document, so that you can leapfrog the first stage of an ICFP or strategic planning process, then do take a look.

  • It should make it easier to be sure that everything is in place
  • It will help form the basis for strategic planning later this term
  • And, if you need it, the format provides a simple report for Trustees or Governors.

Three birds with one stone.

You can download the spreadsheets (blank and worked example) here.

If you would like me to share more about our approach to building a strategic plan for financial security and educational success, please drop me a note at office@schoolfinancespecialists.com and I will keep you posted.  If you find any gremlins or have suggestions for improvements, let me know.

Susan