Fall in surplus school balances
School surplus balances have fallen for the first time since 2002-03, with half of the deficit balances in 2008-09 now under £25,000, according to new figures.
Each individual school is responsible for their own financial management. They can often go into deficit or have a surplus due to individual circumstances like an increase or fall in pupil numbers – or similarly in staffing numbers. It is important however that schools ensure that they spend wisely and in ways that give best value for money and secure efficiencies.
The figures show that surplus balances in 2008-09 are down to £1.92 billion, excess surplus balances above the cut off point have fallen to £495 million, the number of schools with deficit balances has risen slightly to 1,848 schools and around 50 per cent of the deficit balances in 2008-09 were under £25,000.
Schools Minister Vernon Coaker said: "It’s good to see that the majority of schools are managing their budgets well and also that the number of schools with excess surplus balances has fallen to its lowest level in these ten years to just over 7,000 schools.
“However, overall the level of surplus held by some individual schools is too high. While it is clearly sound financial management for schools to retain a small surplus from year to year, we expect revenue funding to be used to support the education and well-being of pupils in school now. It is however important that schools spend their funds wisely while ensuring best value for money."
The figures released show:
- Surplus balances in 2008-09 are down by around £118 million to £1.92 billion on the previous financial year.
- Excess surplus balances above the cut off point have fallen by £97 million to £495 million, and a record low number of schools (a little over 7,000) have an excessive surplus.
- As expected given the current financial climate, the number of schools with deficit balances has risen slightly by 153 to 1,848 schools on the previous financial year. However, it remains below the number of schools in deficit a decade ago.
- Around 50% of the deficit balances in 2008-09 were under £25,000.
Mr Coaker added: “Local authorities have the power to claw back excess, uncommitted surpluses and redistribute the proceeds back to local schools in consultation with Schools Forums."
Although the number of schools with deficit balances has risen slightly by 153 to 1,848 schools on the previous financial year, it remains below the number of schools in deficit a decade ago.
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