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How ICFP and school efficiency release resources that are allowing learners to thrive

December 17, 2021, 10:44 GMT+1
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How ICFP and school efficiency release resources that are allowing learners to thrive
  • Chris Jones of SMARTcurriculum explains why ICFP is about more than benchmarked metrics...
How ICFP and school efficiency release resources that are allowing learners to thrive

Why should schools care about ICFP?
The autumn IFS report confirms that education is underfunded. The most deprived schools are suffering – 31% of leaders declared cuts in 19/20, increasing to 35% in 20/21.

Fifty percent of schools predict deficit budgets in 21/22. The system needs better funding, but we also need to spend smarter.

SMARTcurriculum utilises integrated curriculum and finance planning (ICFP) to uncover an average in-year surplus curriculum spend of £240k in secondaries and £80k in primaries.

How does ICFP work?
ICFP benchmarks schools using seven metrics: ‘Teacher Contact Ratio’; ‘Pupil/Teacher Ratio’; ‘Average Class Size’; ‘Average Teacher Cost’; ‘Percentage of expenditure on teaching staff as a proportion of Grant Income’; ‘Senior Leadership Full Time Equivalent as a percentage of total teacher FTE’; and ‘Pupil/Adult Ratio’.

The process allows you to see whether you’re spending money according to need, with equity for all learners.

Are there limitations to ICFP, and how is SMARTcurriculum different?
Some fear that ICFP stifles innovation. I would agree that simply measuring against benchmarks won’t improve practice. ICFP should never be about blindly cutting teachers, TAs or the arts.

SMARTcurriculum provides not only insightful analysis of current practice, but also clear evidence of why needs in certain areas demand curriculum enhancement.

It empowers leaders to design an improved curriculum, while reducing enhanced spending that’s not impactful.

What does a SMARTcurriculum review entail?
We first gain a clear understanding of your vision and context, before supporting data entry from your current curriculum plan, staff list and budget using standard MIS reports.

These findings are presented to stakeholders via dashboards and a report, alongside suggested actions. SMARTcurriculum users can also engage with webinars and workshops, sharing developments and best practice.

We then conclude by creating a dataset schools can use to model developments for in-year or next year.

What does a school that uses SMARTcurriculum look like?
SMARTcurriculum schools turn around deficit budgets and build reserves. Staff understand where every penny is spent and why. Educational leads develop shared understanding with business leads, breaking silos.

SMARTcurriculum reports engage governors in developing strategic goals, while school leaders can be confident their curriculum is financially efficient, delivering desired outcomes and providing equitably for all learners.

Expert profile

Name: Chris Jones
Job title: Chief Executive
Area of expertise: Curriculum modelling and school efficiency
Best part of my job: Empowering school leaders to thrive

Ask me about

  • Curriculum and staffing reviews
    Obtaining a diagnostic analysis of your school and developing a narrative for optimisation
  • Due diligence
    The areas those looking to grow their MAT should consider before bringing new schools into their group.
  • Coaching/training
    How to strengthen and develop your team’s capacity to deliver efficient systems across your school(s)

Get in touch on 020 3701 2854 or at and find out more at