Learning Pathway

Finance 1: the basics

Read time: 31 Minutes

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What you'll learn

Understand how schools and trusts are funded and what your role is in finance, so you can be confident your board is making sure that money is well spent.
This learning pathway will help you get to grips with the basics of school finance, so you can confidently support your board in monitoring this key area.

The pathway is suitable for all governors and trustees.

Read the articles below and then complete the assessment to test your understanding. If you feel confident in this topic already, you can skip straight to the assessment at any time. 

Pathway overview

How schools are funded (7 minutes)

This article will cover:

  • What the national funding formula (NFF) is
  • How different school types are funded, including maintained special schools
  • How the general annual grant (GAG) works for academies
  • The additional streams of funding schools may receive, such as pupil premium, and PE and sport premium

Finance glossary (5 minutes)

This article will cover:

  • Finance terms for all schools
  • Special financial language for academies
  • A handy downloadable version to refer to when you need

Monitoring school/trust finance: an overview (11 minutes)

This article will:

  • Give you a deeper understanding of your board’s key financial responsibilities
  • Explain how your board will monitor finance in practice

Budget approval process (8 minutes)

This article will:

  • Go through the budget approval process step-by-step (separately for maintained schools, single academies and multi-academy trusts)
  • Set out who’s involved in the process, and when


Pass the short assessment to earn a certificate in this pathway.

Your certificate will automatically appear on your GovernorHub training record, where you can download it at any time.