The Impact of School Resource Management Advisors (SRMA)

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What are SRMAs?

SRMAs are practicing industry experts, such as school trade professionals who work in conjunction with schools and trusts, providing independent advice tailored to each individual context.

This includes practical management support and advice on how a school or trust can use its income and capital resources to provide the best possible educational outcomes for its students.

You can read how two schools in Hackney are set to save £1.5million over 3 years after working with an SRMA.

Our current SRMAs are a diverse group, including semi-retired high school and trusted leaders, some still working in schools and others who are independent consultants.

Each SRMA follows an initiation and accreditation process led by an independent body. This accreditation gives the assurance that the SRMA can use the conclusions of its visit to develop appropriate recommendations as well as quantified savings.

Rebecca Beaver, SRMA, said:

“I love the work I do as an SRMA, and the feedback I’ve received confirms that through the SRMA program, my work is having a positive impact on the industry. I understand the challenge of working in schools and have tremendous respect for anyone brave enough to take on the leadership role. I bring this perspective to every deployment and seek to understand the context of the setting before I start thinking about how I might be able to support the setting. The best part of being an SRMA is being independent; this allows me to focus entirely on student-focused recommendations. The “fresh look” approach to an SRMA deployment allows me to offer new perspectives and ways of thinking that provide alternatives to how an organization might address a challenge.”

Our SRMAs believe that the opportunity to work in many different settings has led to a huge amount of learning and personal development that can be applied to other areas of work. Many SRMAs sit as trustees or on local networks of school leaders or CFOs and can contribute much more because of the experience gained through their SRMA work.

Why we introduced SRMAs

Our goal is for every school and trust in the country to have confidence in:

  • their own level of resource management
  • the potential to make improvements, especially comparing their use of resources to other similar schools
  • how to direct resources to have the greatest impact on success, including ensuring that schools purchase goods and services using the best deals available

The SRMA offer is free and open to any school, community or trust likely to benefit from this support, regardless of its financial situation.

SRMAs can provide advice and support to deal with current or future projected shortfalls where they exist, but in all cases they help trusts and schools identify opportunities to better use their funding, allowing them to target resources where they will have the greatest impact on outcomes for children. It is up to schools and trusts to decide which, if any, of the SRMA recommendations they will implement.

Anyone interested in becoming an SRMA, or any school or trust wishing to take advantage of the SRMA offer should contact ESFA on the application form.

SRMA tours are sponsored by:

  • an invitation to participate in an SRMA visit, offered as part of ESFA’s improvement and prevention engagement with trusts and local authorities
  • a request from a headteacher, trust or local authority for expert support
  • ESFA’s formal intervention work using the powers set out in the Academy Trust Handbook (ATH), which aims to improve the financial situation of academic trusts subject to an improvement notice or warning

School Resource Management Strategy

The DfE is committed to helping schools improve student outcomes by making every book count and making the most of all their resources. We have previously published the results of our work with schools to identify key drivers of effective resource management, see the excellent resource management strategy to support this.

These can be summarized as follows:

  • financial planning, which is based on achieving educational outcomes, rather than being a separate exercise
  • longer term strategic financial planning (3-5 years)
  • effective and efficient deployment of staff
  • well-managed expenses for non-staff expenses
  • solid challenge from financially competent governors and school leaders
  • qualified staff responsible for financial management
  • transparent financial systems and processes, which encourage constructive challenges within and between schools
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