School Balances 2018/19 (Melanie Ellis)
Melanie Ellis introduced the report (Agenda Item 11) which set out, for information purposes, the year-end balances for all maintained schools, highlighting those schools with a deficit or significant surplus.
Total balances had increased by £1.6m from 2017/18, mostly comprising of £802k in main school budgets (MSB) and £699k in capital. The majority of the MSB change was due to the nine deficit schools reducing their combined MSB deficits by £600k. All schools had been required to make tough decisions to improve their financial positions and national agreements of funding were invariably agreed for limited periods of time and therefore could not be relied upon for future budgeting purposes.
Regarding capital funding, Melanie Ellis added that extra funding was not received until February 2019 and therefore schools had not had much time to spend the allocation before the end of the year.
Ian Pearson drew attention to table 4.6 which showed the increase/decrease by school category and in particular highlighted a substantial increase for primary schools. It was important to understand the reason for the increase and added that much of this funding had come through specific routes and there were restrictions regarding how it could be spent.
It was highlighted that nursery Schools and iCollege had seen a reduction in balances.
Ian Pearson reported that it was vital that schools planned ahead and this was a consistent message being sent to schools to help prevent them falling into deficit. Hilary Latimer stated that this was particularly important for smaller schools as it was an economies of scale issue.
RESOLVED that the Schools’ Forum noted the report.