Third of schools falling into the red

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New research has found that one in seven schools are still not budgeting effectively, despite more than a third of schools and academies suffering from a budget deficit in the past three years.

A study by HCSS Education of 265 school leaders has found that 42 per cent of academies and 32 per cent of maintained schools went into the red in the last three years.

Yet, despite struggling to manage their finances, 13 per cent of maintained schools and academies are still not planning ahead and do not have three- to five-year budget plans in place.

A third of schools and academies say they lack the appropriate support they need with budget planning and forecasting, which might explain why some are failing to budget effectively.

The research found that many schools and academies are making cut backs or generating savings to ensure they don’t go into the red. Eighty-two per cent said they are reducing spending on equipment and educational materials, while 64 per cent said they are hiring out facilities and buildings to generate additional funds. Forty-eight per cent admitted to dipping into reserves and 39 per cent are putting strategies in place to increase pupil intake to help balance the books.

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