ESFA issues guidance for completing budget forecasts

ESFA issues guidance for completing budget forecasts                                               

The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESF) has issued guidance to academies to help them complete their budget forecasts returns (BFR).

This year, the BFRO and BFR3Y forms have been combined into a single financial return.

The BFR form is split into two sections, the table below shows the periods where the detailed actuals and forecasts are required.

Period Prior year Prior year Current year Current year Forecast year Forecast year
Type of entry Actual Actual Actual Forecast Forecast Forecast
Months Sep 19 – Mar 20 (7 months) Apr 20 – Aug 20 (5 months) Sep 20 – Mar 21 (7 months) Apr 21 – Aug 21 (5 months) Sep 21 – Mar 22 (7 months) Apr 22 – Aug 22 (5 months)
Academic year 2019/20 2019/20 2020/21 2020/21 2021/22 2021/22


Please note if your trust completed the BFR2020 then the period ‘Sep 19 – Mar 20’ will be pre-populated with the data your trust returned.

The other section covers the summary level forecasts for the years 2021/22, which will be automatically summarised from the data already entered in the form, together with 2022/23 and 2023/24.

What are the major changes?

  • The BFRO and the BFR3Y are combined into a single online form
  • The three year forecast section has been reinstated
  • Elements of the form will be prepopulated with previously submitted data
  • if you submitted your BFR 2020 using the online form then Sep 19 – Mar 20 information will be pre-populated using the data from that submission
  • Additional help text has been included as a result of feedback and queries raised last year
  • In response to feedback, validations QU3 & 4 have been updated
  • An additional screen, ‘Summary Declaration,’ has been included

The ‘Summary Declaration’ page will show you the data in summary that your trust has entered in the form in a table.

This table will show you the key sub-totals from your data and show them in both a rounded thousand total view as well as an un-rounded total, to make it clear what figures have been entered and how the data will be reported to the ESFA.

More information about the BFR returns is available from the ESFA. Alternatively, please contact a member of the Haslers Education team and we will be happy to guide you through the process.

ESFA issues guidance for completing budget forecasts
ESFA issues guidance for completing budget forecasts