School resource management and ICFP

May 21, 2022

School resource management and ICFP


The focus on a school’s or academy’s financial efficiency and sustainability has never been more important. A method of financial resource planning that is becoming increasingly prominent is Integrated Curriculum Financial Planning (ICFP).

The Department for Education (DfE) has begun to strengthen its emphasis on the links between ICFP, effective resource management and efficient financial management.


What is ICFP?

ICFP stands for Integrated Curriculum Financial Planning. It helps a school use resources as effectively and efficiently as possible. It does so by systematically analysing all aspects of the educational provision within a school setting to ensure that financial management planning ensures an appropriate balance in the allocation and expenditure of resources.

ICFP is an important way to review a school’s financial and resource management planning and use against its widest curriculum delivery aims. It integrates the school and trust’s teaching and learning ambitions and financial resource management into one approach.

ICFP uses a reasonably simple set of metrics that assist with collaborative decision-making across the leadership triangle, requiring involvement from school business professionals, senior pedagogical leaders and governors/trustees.

It is important to mention that ICFP isn’t a new idea and many schools use it to a greater or lesser extent. It isn’t a reaction to a difficult financial situation but should be used as a proactive way of planning and using resources efficiently.

There is no prescribed way of implementing ICFP, but there are several well-established approaches in use in the sector.


Why is ICFP important?

ICFP is an important way to review a school’s financial and resource management planning and use against its widest curriculum delivery aims. It helps integrate a school or trust’s teaching and learning ambitions with appropriate strategic consideration for the financial resources available.

It supports the school business professional to approach resource management in a holistic way within their school. It helps them to quantify the areas of inefficiency within a school, diagnose the causes and then enable informed and collaborative decision-making to ensure the school has effective resource management.

When implemented fully, ICFP can be used to provide the analytical evidence that will inform the medium-term strategic planning as well as the short-term operational management action planning and collaborative decision-making
of school business professionals, senior school leaders and governors. 


The ISBL Approach to ICFP

We have developed an approach to ICFP through our on-the-ground experience of using ICFP as part of the School Resource Management Adviser (SRMA) programme and through our partnership with Andrew Hamilton, an experienced SRMA. We want to help support school business professionals in this area by sharing the effective practice developed.

Our approach is based on our belief that a full, effective use of ICFP is the key to excellence in financial management and strategic resource-planning. It is designed to be easy to understand, simple to implement and user-friendly in its application.

It uses the essential revenue balances, income and expenditure metrics (the Balances Metrics) and the 12 key diagnostic staffing metrics (the 12 Key Metrics).

The metrics are easily analysed and are used to inform the school’s decision makers about the effectiveness and efficiency of their financial and resource use. They provide the conversation starters for school business professionals, senior school leaders, governors and trustees, so that they discuss what actions need to be taken to ensure high-quality teaching and learning whilst securing a school’s financial health.

To find out more about the ISBL Approach to ICFP, click here


Training and support


ICFP tool

I-SOT, the ISBL School Optimisation Tool, will help you calculate the metrics and uses a RAG rating system to indicate which areas may be of concern and require further investigation. You can purchase this here.



We offer a range of ICFP training opportunities for school business professionals.