Pickhurst Junior Academy Trust
I accept that as accounting officer of Pickhurst Junior School an Academy Trust I am responsible and accountable for ensuring that the academy trust delivers good value in the use of public resources. I am aware of the guide to academy value for money statements published by the Education Funding Agency and understand that value for money refers to the educational and wider societal outcomes achieved in return for the taxpayer resources received.
I set out below how I have ensured that the academy trust’s use of its resources has provided good value for money during the academic year.
In September we were delighted that the major resurfacing work to our playgrounds and pathways was completed on time and within budget. A formal tender was undertaken with a number of suitable contractors invited to submit firm proposals. The window of opportunity to complete these works was a four week period during the summer recess which for a project of this size, over 3000sqm, was a very tight deadline. The tenders were examined by an independent expert and a decision was made to appoint the contractor who offered the best package. The difference this project has made to the Academy has been huge in terms of the activities we can now offer to all of our children and the income it generates as a facility we can offer the local community. This is another excellent example of the way we achieve best value from our building projects.
We continue to invest in our staffing structure that is highly skilled, very dynamic and most importantly hugely motivated. We have employed staff with QTS to run our intervention programmes for our most vulnerable learners. They are supported by a team of HLTAs and para professionals who have various specialist skills that put together means we will massively improve the educational outcomes for our children who most need support. Our classroom based teachers work relentlessly to ensure that no child slips through the net, investment in our target tracking system ensures these Teachers get all the back up support they need to ensure we continue to improve our outstanding KS2 results. Every Child Counts is the motto that underpins the ethos and core values of our Academy.
We have robust monitoring systems to ensure there is no wastage or extravagance. In addition to constant financial monitoring by the Senior Leadership Team, the culture of our staff is to be clever in all aspects of procurement and the use of resources. The efficiencies gained allow more investment in the front line provision of education.
The Head teacher is the Principal Accounting Officer of the Academy and along with the Bursar (CIPFA qualified) ensures that day to day financial management of the Academy adheres to the highest standards of recommended practise for accounting. The Finance and Audit committee ensure that comprehensive and strategic financial planning will secure and underpin the long term viability of the Academy.
The Academy is subject to a vigorous auditing regime with visits each term from the Responsible Officer and External Auditors. They both issue comprehensive reports to the Governing Board who action any of the recommendations. A very detailed year end visit is then undertaken in order to put together the Statutory Accounts and Financial Statements.
Probity and Transparency will always be the core values that underpin the Financial Governance of the Academy which in turn ensures Value for Money.
We have a number of key relationships with other Academies where shared ideas and practices help raise standards and significantly contribute to the wider school improvement agenda.
Our Head Teacher and Deputy Head Teacher have the accreditation of National Leader in Education and Specialist Leader in Education respectively. They do a huge amount of outreach work supporting vitally important projects like Challenge the Gap. The Academy is a facilitator of the following; Outstanding Teacher Programme, Outstanding Teaching Assistant Programme and Improving Teacher Programme, Outstanding Leadership in Education and Training provider for NQT programme.
The Academy is a designated National Support School, London Leadership Strategy Consultants for Good to Great programme also we are members or strategic partners of the Warren Road Teaching School Alliance, Brindishe Lee Challenge Partners Hub, QEYS Teaching School and the Bromley Primary Academy Chain.
All of this has required a huge investment in resources but is now producing fantastic returns in terms of our professional reputation and has lead to the creation of new income streams. Most importantly it shows our commitment to raising standards in other schools and academies, not just our own.
Pupil premium funding has been used to provide a full time parent Liaison officer whose role it is to support vulnerable learners and families from deprived backgrounds to ensure equality of opportunity. In addition a Head of Pupil leaning has been employed and will commence in a part time capacity from January 2014. Her role will be similar to an inclusions manager but with the specific remit of developing potential amongst pupil premium children Sports coaches employed at lunchtime are fully utilised in targeting the FSM children and ensuring that they have equality of access to playground games and participate fully. Their social and emotional needs are also prioritised in this way.
We are very proud of our Outdoor Learning provision and continue to invest in our Forest School programme, a fantastic opportunity available to every one of our children. We are currently using our PE grant to overhaul our lunchtime cover where sports coaches have been employed not only to supervise but to coach all of our children, not just the talented ones, in many different sports and activities. This has been hugely successful and is very popular with our children and their families. We have also seen a positive impact on learning and behaviour in the afternoon.
Our first Duty will always be to protect our whole school community and this year we made major investments in these areas. We relocated our main entrance and administration offices and also installed a new entry system. This has not only improved the safety of all but has lead to greater efficiencies in the administration of the Academy. We also upgraded to a fully automated fire detection system, which has significantly improved life and property protection. We have already seen a return on this investment with lower insurance premiums.
We will always ensure our limited resources are targeted where they are most needed and in the most cost effective and efficient way possible. The sole objective is to improve the educational outcomes of every single child in a safe and secure learning environment.
Principal Accounting Officer
12th December 2014