ESFA CFO Mentoring Programme (Pilot)



As part of the ongoing strategy of developing schools’ capability for effective financial and resource management, the ESFA is running a pilot offering identified school and academy CFOs a unique and cost-free opportunity to further develop their skills and knowledge via a one-to-one mentoring programme.

ISBL has won the contract to deliver this CFO mentoring programme. Recruitment and training of mentors is taking place in the autumn term. 


We are looking to recruit 50 mentors to help support this programme.


What will a mentor be expected to do?

The pilot will run for 12 months in total, with the first cohort of mentees started in October 2021 and the second cohort starting in January 2022.


Further details about the mentoring programme include:

  • Mentors are expected to provide a set number of hours support (maximum of 24 hours in total) to a single mentee over a period of 4-6 months each.
  • The requirements and duration of the mentoring relationship will be defined by the ESFA and defined as a deployment.
  • The mentoring will focus on these key development areas which the mentor and mentee will agree, including measurables for, at the start of the mentoring.
  • In addition to defined development areas the mentor should be prepared to support, guide and advise the mentee on other aspects of the CFO role should the mentee request this during the duration of their relationship.
  • Mentors will be contracted to ISBL for the duration of the mentoring programme.
  • For this pilot CFO mentoring programme, mentors must be based in the UK.
  • Mentors will be remunerated for undertaking the role of mentor.


It is expected that the CFO mentoring will require the mentor to carry out:

  • An initial meeting with the CFO mentee to identify their development goals
  • An agreed number of regular mentoring meetings (virtual)
  • Other project and ad-hoc activities e.g. reviewing reports, coaching on specific tasks (e.g. academies budget forecast return), reviewing evidence of progress, etc.


After working with a mentor, the mentee should be effective in the management of the trust’s finances and should be able to competently carry out tasks around budget planning, monitoring, reporting and in the area of wider resource management. The mentee will be confident in developing and implementing strategies to resource and deliver the trust’s objectives whilst achieving value for money across all areas of spend.


You can find out more about the role profile of a mentor by clicking below.


The application process

The application window for Cohort 2 mentors is now open. You can apply for the role of CFO Mentor now.

To apply for the role of CFO Mentor you will need to submit the following:

  1. CFO Mentor application form
  2. Self-assessment form
  3. Psychometric test results


The application pack contains the all the forms, guidance and FAQs documents you will need.


Click to download the CFO Mentor Application Pack.


If you have any questions about the role of CFO Mentor, please send them to 


Key dates

  • Applications: You can apply for the role now to start in January 2022.
  • Interviews: These will take place on a rolling basis. Please give us an indication of your availability for the next two weeks when submitting your application.
  • Induction: Mentors will be asked to watch a pre-recorded induction session before starting the mentoring.


Want to be mentored?

There is still a chance to put yourself forwards to be mentored. If you are interested in the development opportunity and are either an aspiring/new CFO or an existing CFO, then email with your details and permission to share them with the ESFA. We will then connect you with the ESFA to discuss whether you are eligible to join this mentoring pilot.