Education and Skills Funding Agency
The impact of school resource management advisers (SRMAs)
Find out how the SRMA role can have an impact on improving outcomes for pupils.
What are SRMAs?
SRMAs are practising sector experts such as school business professionals that work collaboratively with schools and trusts, providing independent advice tailored to each individual setting.
This includes hands-on management support and advice on how a school or trust can use their revenue and capital resources to deliver the best possible educational outcomes for their pupils.
You can read about how two Hackney schools are set to save £1.5 million over 3 years after working with a SRMA.
Our current SRMAs are a diverse group, including some semi-retired senior school and trust leaders, some still working in schools and others who are self-employed consultants.
Every SRMA completes an induction and accreditation process which is led by an independent body. This accreditation provides assurance that the SRMA can use the findings of their visit to develop appropriate recommendations along with costed savings.
Rebecca Beaver, SRMA said:
“I absolutely love the work that I do as an SRMA, and the feedback I’ve received confirms that through the SRMA programme my work is having a positive impact on the sector. I understand the challenge of working in schools and I have huge respect for anyone who is brave enough to step into the role of leadership. I bring this view to every deployment and seek to understand the context of the setting before I begin to consider how I might be able to support the setting. The best part of being a SRMA is being independent; this allows me to focus entirely on pupil focused recommendations. The ‘fresh eyes’ approach of an SRMA deployment enables me to provide new perspectives and ways of thinking that offer alternatives to how an organisation might tackle a challenge.”
Our SRMAs feel that the opportunity to work across many different settings has led to an enormous amount of learning and personal development that can be applied across other areas of work. Many SRMAs sit as trustees or on local headteacher or finance director networks and can contribute much more because of the experience gained from their SRMA work.
Why we have introduced SRMAs
Our goal is for every school and trust in the country to be confident about:
- their own level of resource management
- the potential to make improvements particularly through benchmarking their use of resources against other similar schools
- how to direct resources to have the greatest impact on attainment, including through ensuring schools are procuring goods and services using the best available deals
The SRMA offer is free of charge and open to any school, local authority or trust that may benefit from this support, whatever their financial position.
SRMAs can provide advice and support to address current or future forecast deficits where these exist, but in all cases, they help trusts and schools identify opportunities to make better use of their funding, enabling them to target resources where they will have the most impact on outcomes for children. It is up to schools and trusts to decide which, if any, of the SRMA’s recommendations they will implement.
Anyone interested in becoming a SRMA, or any school or trust that wishes to take up the SRMA offer should contact ESFA on the enquiry form.
SRMA visits are commissioned through:
- an invitation to take up an SRMA visit, offered as part of ESFA’s improvement and prevention engagement with trusts and local authorities
- a request from a school leader, trust, or local authority for expert support
- ESFA’s formal intervention work using powers set out in the Academy Trust Handbook (ATH), which aims to improve the financial position of academy trusts subject to a notice to improve or warning notice
School resource management strategy
DfE is committed to helping schools improve outcomes for pupils by making every pound count and getting the best value from all their resources. We have previously published the results of our work with schools to identify the main drivers of effective resource management, see the supporting excellent resource management strategy.
These can be summarised as:
- financial planning, which is based on delivering educational outcomes, rather than being a separate exercise
- strategic financial planning over a longer term (3-5 years)
- the effective and efficient deployment of staff
- well-managed spend on non-staff costs
- robust challenge from financially skilled governors and school leaders
- skilled staff responsible for managing finances
- transparent financial systems and processes, which encourage constructive challenge within and between schools
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