The NAHT have recently released their second survey of members on school funding. There were 1102 respondents of head teachers and school business managers in November and December 2016

The key messages are very similar to our Academies Benchmark Report 2017 which included data from the accounts for 31 August 2016 for more than 600 schools which covered more than 300,000 pupils. Our benchmark report can be found here:

  • Our benchmark report said 4 in 10 academies recorded a deficit in 2015/16 while the NAHT report states “the number of schools currently in deficit has more than doubled since their 2015 survey (up 10 percentage points from 8 per cent to 18 per cent)”.
  • Our benchmark report highlighted that average staff costs as a percentage of total costs increased very slightly to just around 71%. The NAHT report identified “increases in payroll costs as a result of government policies were cited as schools’ biggest financial pressures. These costs went up in 2015 and have resulted in an increase to school budgets of over 5.5 per cent every year, but there has been no resulting increase in funding from the government.” The implication from this data is that academies have either made cost savings elsewhere to compensate for an increase in salary costs and/or they have restructured so their staffing structure is based on less experienced, and therefore cheaper, staff.
  • Our benchmark report highlighted there are noticeable reductions in the levels of spend on technology costs and maintenance costs which could indicate academies are bottling up a problem for future years. The NAHT report identified “that the most commonly reported cost saving was reducing investment in equipment, which 85 per cent of respondents said they were having to do”.

The full NAHT report can be found here:


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Bishop Fleming is one of the UK’s leading accountants to the academy school sector.

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