The timing is a little ironic; a story praising an approach taken by the DfE and everyone’s on half term! Nevertheless, praise where and when it is due.
There was an audible groan of frustration heard at PAG towers when the Multi Academy Trust Development & Improvement Fund (MDIF) approval letter hit the mats of our client MATs.
It appeared that colleagues at DfE had chosen to retro-fit a condition around the funding in relation to evaluation in the form of Annex K or Integrated Curriculum and Financial Planning (ICFP). Aside from adding another acronym to the lexicon, here are five reasons why we (and now our clients) think this is a great idea.
- It’s useful – As a general rule we’re not big fans of multiple pig-weighing. In this case however, the requirements for information are not onerous and at the end of the process, both DfE and the Trust will have a genuinely useful document for their respective uses. Short, informative and with some longevity – what’s not to like?
- It’s independent – A common charge made against this sort of thing is that it creates a position whereby in order to access funding, MATs have to spend time and effort on additional work that detracts from the original purpose of the funding. The good news here is that the additional work required from the Trust is minimal. We’ve made sure of this in our work by producing proformas that allow the initial information to be supplied quickly and painlessly.
- It’s independent – So good we said it twice? Nope, the other benefit of independence in this work in that it’s err, independent. It’s a rarity that the Trusts are able to get an unbiased, cold-eyed external professional view paid for by the DfE. That’s exactly what this is.
- It’s ring-fenced – We always prefer a race to the top as opposed to a race to the bottom. Owing to the fact that the DfE money is ring-fenced and specific in its requirements, it has removed any temptation to haggle around price. Rather than shave a thought here or some analysis there, the ‘market’ for this work (if one emerges) will be focused on the amount of added value organisations can add to the work rather than how much they are prepared to discount. On a relatively small a very technical piece of work, this is by far the best approach – more please DfE.
- It’s what we do! – OK, I admit that none of our existing and new MDIF clients were hanging out the bunting to celebrate the fact that PAG was presented another great opportunity to work with the sector. I also have to admit that we were chuffed to bits. Plenty of organisations can provide financial healthchecks – ouurselves included. Quite a few organisations can provide curriculum reviews – again hands up from us here. Significantly fewer can offer both services in one neat package. How do we know this? our existing and new clients are telling us. We do like finding a niche!
Do feel free to get in touch with a word or two about your MDIF application if you’d like to know how we can help you deliver your ICFP and what value we can add.