Approving the budget: questions to ask

Whether you're a member of the finance committee or not, know what questions to ask about different areas of the budget at whichever stage it comes to you for approval.

Last reviewed on 3 July 2024
Ref: 41688
  1. Budget assumptions
  2. Taking risks into consideration
  3. Compliance
  4. Income generation
  5. Improvement initiatives 
  6. Contracts
  7. Energy costs
  8. Benchmarking
  9. Staffing questions
  10. Pupil questions
  11. Variations in the budget
  12. Deficit questions

These questions are based on the Department for Education’s (DfE’s) top 10 planning checks for governors, and advice from our associate education experts.

Not everyone on the finance committee needs to be an expert. However, you're expected to ask questions, listen, and make sure the responses you receive from senior leaders match what you know is happening in your school or trust.

You also don't need to ask every single one of these questions. If you're unsure what to ask, as a starting point take into consideration what you've been told, and whether:

Budget assumptions You need to make sure that the budget proposal is based on realistic assumptions. Ask: Has the budget been compiled with reference to all the available and up-to-date information? (E.g. on pupil numbers) What assumptions did you make when

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