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Academies budget forecast return

Information to help academy trusts submit their budget forecast returns to the Education and Skills Funding Agency.

New academy BFRs

We’ll contact new trusts and established trusts that have opened new academies since July 2018 with information about how to submit their BFR for new academies.

The BFR return is currently closed however, please use this link for the BFR online form when it is live.

Please note, you can only assign one role per person to work on the BFR. If the approver also prepares the return, they don’t need to be assigned separately as a preparer.

The online form uses the IDAMS registration service and trusts must be registered and set up to use the service before they can access the form.

Read this guide on how to register and set up the online forms for the BFR.

Academies budget forecast return outturn (BFRO) 2018

The BFRO collects financial outturn information as at the end of March each year. ESFA uses the information provided to ensure that the academy sector can accurately report its financial data to HM Treasury.

The 2018 collection has closed. The 2019 collection will open next year and will run from April to May.

We’ve produced these guidance documents and a video which explains more about the BFRO form.

BFRO 2018 guidance video

Academies budget forecast return (BFR) 2018

The BFR collects financial information to provide a 3 year forecast for the sector. ESFA uses this information to review trends in the sector and to provide HM Treasury forecasts. We have published this academy trust guide to 3-year budget forecast return (MS Word Document, 56.2KB) to provide some advice on compiling data.

This return is closed and will reopen in June 2019. We have published the guidance for the last year’s collection as reference to the 3-year forecasts, but this will updated before the form goes live in June 2019.

Academies budget forecast return 2018: guide to completing the online form

PDF, 5.58MB, 46 pages

This is also in an Open Document Source BFR 2018 workbook guidance (ODS, 208KB).

We have created a general introduction video to help explain the academy budget forecast returns process.

Academy budget forecast introductory video


If you have any questions about the BFR, please contact us using our online enquiry form below. Please put ‘BFR’ at the top of your enquiry so we can quickly direct your question to the relevant team.

ESFA enquiries

Contact form…

For all enquiries for the Education and Skills Funding Agency

Published 28 February 2018
Last updated 21 June 2018 + show all updates

  1. Updated to add the link to the online form and the guide to completing the budget forecast return (BFR) 2018. The deadline for academy trusts to submit their completed BFR is 30 July 2018.
  2. We’ve published the BFR 3-year Excel workbook and guidance document for trusts to help them to prepare for their BFR return, the deadline is 30 July 2018. The form will go live on 21 June 2018.
  3. We have updated the page with a document explaining more about the BFR 3-year forecasts
  4. We have updated the budget forecast page with an introductory video to help explain all of the budget forecast returns that we collect.
  5. We have added a budget forecast return outturn guidance video to help users complete their return.
  6. Updated to include information about weekly BFRO Skype dial-ins for trusts that take place each Wednesday between 1pm and 2pm throughout April and May.
  7. Updated with the link and guide to completing the online form for the academies budget forecast return outturn, which academy trusts submit by Monday 21 May 2018.
  8. We have updated the academies budget forecast return outturn 2018 workbook templates.
  9. First published.


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