I was recently asked to write an article for the PSM magazine to discuss the application of Integrated Curriculum and Finance Planning within the primary sector. Link here to read the whole article. Here is a taster of what I discuss.
Many have argued, quite rightly, that these metrics have been secondary phase oriented, that they do not readily apply to the primary phase structures and delivery methodology. Certainly, the early sector-led versions of ICFP did not include primary school structures in their narrative. However, the new drive toward ICFP is unapologetically phase agnostic.
ICFP produces metrics of capacity to deliver benchmarked provision against the standardised grant income and, given that most of the grant funds are calculated based on pupil numbers, this seems a positive way forward. ICFP methodology enables a broad range of practices to be considered, it does not overtly provide a ‘health-check’ or value-based measurement respecting different contexts and delivery strategies, it allows comparison against standardised system practice. Thus, not forcing toward a unified practice but driving toward an understanding of the breadth of what works and what does not.
What we do know about ICFP is that the story that the metrics tell is very different between the phases. The use of the metrics on a more regular basis and widely across the system, is prompting questioning about the capacity to do what we expect of a school and distinguishes the great and the not so great practices.
In conversation with primary leaders and SBMs I have found the common retort that ICFP has simply reinforced questions that they have always asked, it has brought more formality and structure to questions that school business managers have asked of education leaders and allowed governors to enter the conversation.
This is probably the major strength of ICFP in that it is bridging a gap between the SBM and the education leadership communities – providing a shared narrative about key issues and challenges that each institution faces.
The shared narrative is a powerful and necessary move toward being more efficient with spending, enabling more effective use of resources to provide the best learning systems to educate our young people.