Value for Money Statement
Academy trust name: Plymouth School of Creative Arts
Academy trust company number: 07953395
Year ended 31 August 2014
I accept that as accounting officer of Plymouth School of Creative Arts 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.
This list is illustrative rather than exhaustive.
- Creating and embedding systems ensuring financial control.
- The school’s processes around procurement for IT, furniture and services are based on establishing need and evaluating impact. Some of the furniture we now have has been informed by specialist advice from staff, architects, manufacturers, furniture makers and a specialist around posture. This process is clearly linked to detailed financial processes to establish the best value available.
- We spend time challenging those with service contracts to improve the value and impact. This ability to redefine existing contracts to enhance value as our needs alter in a rapidly expanding school. For example Plymouth City Council and Centerprise.
- The schools use and investment in volunteers alongside qualified staff has been very effective in establishing extra attention to meet individual need. It has been fairly common for studios of 60 children to 2 teachers, 2 support staff and 4 volunteers. We have also supported the ratios of adult to child through the careful use of student teachers having built positive relationships with Plymouth University, Marjons and our sponsor Plymouth College of Art.
- Our partnership with Plymouth College of Art has also enabled us to access specialist people and places to enhance our curriculum.
- Staffing contracts are different to a typical teachers contract. This establishes value in areas such as the providing of clubs for all children.
- The staffing structure has adapted to respond to changes in size, site and age range. It is also reflective of us moving from an infant school to establish a cohesive All-Through school. As an All-Through school with both primary and secondary staff we are able to enhance the learning opportunities of all children providing good value for money. We have had only had two staff leave our school. Both of whom are looking to continue to work with us in other ways. We have used these changes as opportunities to reconsider the needs of the school and reflect this in any future appointments made.
- In readiness for 2014 we have been able to employ a significant number of qualified teachers on Technician contracts to create a very high quality staff group.
- The impact on student progress has been very positive. Our outcomes, which have been moderated by Plymouth Local Authority and checked by the DfE are strong. This is exemplified by high pupil progress and good levels of attainment for compared to other schools locally and nationally. This includes great success with students in receipt of pupil premium.
- The school has tested products to inform future purchasing e.g. IT and furniture.
- Our tracking of student needs allows us to allocate appropriate resources e.g. additional teacher time
Planned Improvements for 2014
Based on our evaluation of 2013/14 the following areas were established to improve Best Value in 2014/15.
- Developing an increased capacity and skill set to support and enhance the use of IT in studios.
- Based on the need to establish new processes as an All-Through school and to begin our secondary curriculum we recognised that this would require additional release time for activities such as the development of assessment systems. As a result we employed a teacher to provide in house supply ensuring a higher level of continuity.
- We are continuing to work closely with our Architects Fielden Clegg Bradley, the Education Funding Agency, Gleeds and our contractors Kier to ensure that our new build and the furniture being purchased will provide excellent value.
- We are looking to further our already positive collaboration with Plymouth College of Art. This will include looking at connection between governors and the sharing of provision and resources.
- In this year we will be establishing all through leadership of subjects that will form the basis of future departments. Because of this we have looked to employ a higher number of leaders than you would typically expect to see for a single year group. Strategically this is an investment that provides very good value for the long term.
- We need to plan to maximise the impact of additional space in our new building from April onwards. This includes the development of partnership and income generation.