All local authorities have a Devolved School Management (DSM) Scheme which sets out local authorities’ financial processes for funding their schools. It outlines financial decisions that can be made in schools, including where the accountability and responsibility lies. Although the detail of the scheme varies across local authorities, all local authorities use the same national guidelines.
Within the City of Edinburgh Council, this scheme is part of our DSM Framework. Most education funding is given to schools and managed by the Head Teacher with support from the School Senior Leadership Team. The rest of the funding is managed by staff within the Education and Children’s Services Department. Head Teachers have some flexibility over the use of their funding so that they can best meet the needs of their schools. Schools receive an annual budget allocation which is mostly aligned with pupil numbers but also links to pupil additional support needs and poverty. Head Teachers can move money between different budget areas and can carry forward a percentage of their unspent budget from one financial year to the next. Budget planning starts in December/January for the next school year in August. This is when likely school rolls are agreed, and staffing allocations are shared with schools.
The scheme supports openness and working together. Schools will have a School Finance Committee (or similar) that meets to make sure staff, pupils, parents/carers are informed and engaged. Participatory Budgeting is also a tool Head Teachers can use to include others in spending decisions.