What makes a good budget?

In our last issue we gave you our ‘top ten tips for a good budget’, this time we are focussing on the benefits of a well-planned budget.

A good budget will be:

  • Realistic
  • Balanced
  • Sustainable
  • Clearly and transparently planned

A list of numbers allocating amounts to areas of spend is not enough. Clear, detailed working papers are essential and must include notes on all assumptions made such as inflation rates, known and estimated costs and what these are based on.

Obviously, there are the ‘have to pay’ spends such as fuel, water, rates, insurances, health & safety/security costs, current staffing; but the budget should be linked to the School Development Plan and Asset Management Plan in order to validate all other expenditure.

Staffing decisions made in the current year will have a significant impact on future years and may not be sustainable; regard must be made to the forward plan.  Calculate your staffing costs as a percentage of total expenditure, if it is more than 86% it will probably not be sustainable and should prompt discussions on staffing levels.

Ring fenced monies, such as PE Grant and Pupil Premium should be used effectively and appropriately, again links to the SDP are vital.


Asset management – a rolling programme of re-decoration or IT replacement is fundamental to maintaining your assets.

These points may seem obvious, but the main benefits of a good budget are:

  • Financial – lowers the risk of monetary crisis in the year, or in the future
  • Educational – allocates resources to areas of need or development