School Finance Support Programme


The FD Forum School Finance Support programme is led by Chris Hutton, ACA, MBE. Having worked in the Academies sector for the last 12 years, he currently sits on the DFE Schools and Academies Finance Group, the ESFA Schools and Academies External Assurance Group and Working Group 1 and was awarded an MBE by the DFE for services to education. He is also the facilitator of this group (The FD Forum) which was set up to assist finance personnel within the Academies sector to share information and best practice. He is also involved within the FD forum subgroups for Multi-Academy Trusts and 10+ Federations.


What We Do

The FD forum will provide a ‘School Finance Support’ programme where members on the programme, who are active members of the FD Forum, can advise on and/or implement recommendations on topics such as:

  • Peer review
  • Performance management assistance – interim and yearly
  • School finance support or additional capacity
  • Budgets – ‘fresh set of eyes’ approach
  • Coaching on using ESFA’s school efficiency matrix
  • Due diligence, reviews for mergers
  • Budget deficits recovery – advice to avoid possibility of FNT or can be submitted as professional opinion to support negative budgets to ESFA


How we do it

On ascertaining the needs of the Academy/Trust, the FD Forum School Finance Support adviser will propose a plan in terms of brief, timescale and costs in order that both sides are working to the same end. If there are any variations to the proposed number of days required and consequently costs as a result of any changes to the brief, the Academy/Trust will be advised immediately.

At the end of the assignment, a clear and concise report will be produced confirming the brief, the findings and suggested recommendations. This will be produced in a format that can be used to easily explain what can be complex situations to SLTs and Governing Bodies. It will also be produced in a way that can be presented to the ESFA to explain situations and show scenarios for improvement.​


Skills and Experience

All Advisers have considerable experience within finance in the Academies sector and are all current or former Finance Directors or Business Managers. They also have experience within HR and Premises and Facilities. They are all members of the FD forum and additionally, the FD forum School Finance Support advisers will have access to a support group set up specifically for them ensuring proper utilisation of all knowledge held.


Additional Services

  • Training
  • Coaching
  • Performance Management for Bursars and FDs
  • Independent Investigations and HR support
  • Interim Finance Personnel


For further information please contact, in confidence,