Thursday, 21 April 2011

Audit Commission Better Value for Money: The wider schools workforce

The main findings on the wider schools' workforce are as follows.

■ In 2002/03 teachers accounted for 76 per cent of staff costs in schools;by 2009/10 this had fallen to 68 per cent. There is notable variation in workforce profiles and teachers typically make up anything between 27 and 75 per cent of the workforce in individual schools.

■ Expenditure on educational support staff has risen as a result of investment in teaching assistants. But there has also been a growth and diversification of other educational support staff roles. We did not find a strong statistical link between the proportion of pupils with special educational needs in schools and the proportion of educational support staff they employ.

■ Administrative and clerical staff account for 7 per cent of total spending on staff, some £1.7 billion. Variation in numbers of these staff between primary schools suggests that they have kept additional numbers of these staff to a minimum. In secondary schools, variation may reflect
different strategies for employing these staff.

■ Expenditure on additional staff expenses accounts for some 6 per cent of schools’ costs. Spend on bought-in non-curriculum-related costs has increased from £316 million in 2002/03 to £492 million in 2009/10.

Questions for school leaders and governing bodies

■ How has the balance between teachers and the wider workforce changed since the introduction of the National Agreement on workload? Does this balance still reflect the current objectives of the school?

■ To what extent have you explored the scope for sharing support staff with other schools?

■ How do you measure the impact of the deployment and use of support staff on educational outcomes?

■ Have you evaluated the impact of educational support staff roles to ensure you still require the hours; grade and responsibility level?

■ Have you explored the scope for sharing educational support staff with other schools?

■ How do you measure how the deployment and use of support staff contributes to educational outcomes?

■ What is the current profile of administrative and clerical staff in the school? How do current roles link to educational outcomes?

■ How can you be sure that school business managers and other finance managers provide value for money? What role do these staff play in senior leadership decisions?

■ What is the balance of spend between administrative and clerical staff and additional spending on teachers’ teaching and learning responsibility points?

■ How well has your school examined the potential for savings from sharing premises staff across local schools?

■ When did the school last review its options for providing catering? How can you achieve the best balance between the quality and cost of catering?

■ How does the provision of community-focused extended school services change staff costs? Has the school calculated whether funding for and income from these services covers staff costs?

■ What are the costs and benefits of using bought-in professional services? How well does funding for this support cover costs?

The full Audit Commission Better Value for Money: The wider schools workforce can be found below

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