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Creative Solutions to Deficit Budgets

Does your school have a deficit budget?  We can help.

Schools’ Choice has helped many schools struggling with deficit. Over the years we have developed many innovative and effective solutions that could benefit yours.

In the education sector, most costs revolve around staffing so if a deficit budget is to be resolved permanently then the focus and effort must be directed towards a reduction in staffing costs.

This is a daunting prospect, but there are some possible solutions before a restructure may be required.

First you need to know if your school or academy is over-staffed - below are some KPI’s that can help you determine this:

  1. Team Pay – As a percentage of Income

    If the percentage is 80% of revenue it is considered high. Factors which will cause this to be high will be number of team or relatively high proportion of high paid team members.

  2. Average Team Costs

  3. Factors which will cause this to be high will be number of team or relatively high proportion of high paid team members.

  4. Revenue Per Pupil

  5. Proportion of Revenue Available for Teaching

  6. Affordable Pupil to Teacher Ratio

  7. Affordable Full Time Equivalent (FTE) Teachers


If the KPIs are indicating a need to restructure, the tips below could help prevent redundancies:

  1. Restricting/Reducing External Recruitment

    Where possible, avoid replacing leaving team members. This will occur naturally for any school or academy where a team member retires, goes on long term sickness or maternity leave.

    Consider filling internal vacancies by redistributing work to existing team members or accepting internal applicants before advertising externally.


  2. Restricting Overtime

    This can be an effective way of reducing costs, especially with the current financial challenges being faced. However, restricting overtime needs to be communicated carefully to team members, and the senior leadership team will need to explain that this is a means to avoiding restructuring/redundancies. Before doing this the senior leadership team should consider the impact on any team members who may be reliant on additional hours.


  3. Voluntary Sabbaticals/Career Break/Secondments

    Arranging for unpaid sabbaticals/career breaks can be a great away to save on salary costs for a fixed period whilst retaining valuable team members. This also gives the team member an opportunity to do something for themselves such as traveling or voluntary work.

    Similarly, secondments can work well by giving your team member an opportunity to experience a new environment and develop their knowledge/skills, which will ultimately benefit your school or academy when they return.


  4. Flexible Working Requests – Reducing Hours/Days

    Team members should be invited to make flexible working requests with the view of reducing hours or days at work. Also, the senior leadership team can consider introducing a reduction in hours or days on a temporary or permanent basis. This will need to be considered carefully and will require consent from the team member to mitigate any risk of breach of contract and/or constructive dismissal claims.


    If your school has a deficit budget it is important that you act now to keep disruption minimal and staff morale high.

    Call our Helpline for a free, no-obligation 30-minute initial consultation - 03456 037 684

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