Helen Redican, Senior Advisor Learning Improvement presented the report to the Committee highlighting the current financial position of schools with
deficit budgets or projected deficit budgets at the end of the summer term
2020 particularly noting those with deficits of above 5%.
The Committee noted that there were 12 schools in Warwickshire with a predicted deficit.
It was noted that Sustainability Action Groups (SAG) offer a challenge and support to schools facing a budget deficit; and that they are chaired by school improvement officers and not financial officers. Officers can offer a shared understanding of the context for each school’s deficit.
Following a question in relation to the impact of Covid-19, it was confirmed that this was currently unquantified, but a fuller picture is expected by the time the autumn 2020 review is completed and that it can then be presented to the Committee. Following a question as to whether Covid-19 has had an impact on school budgets, or if the deficit was a result of other ongoing issues, it was confirmed that schools have had additional costs as a result of the pandemic such as PPE supply costs but that some of these would be covered by Central Government. However, it was also noted that National Funding is still an issues for schools that won’t necessarily get any easier.
In relation to the challenges faced by smaller and rural schools, it was noted by the Committee that there is currently a consultation underway to add an additional 30 schools to those already identified by the EFSA criteria. In addition, it was noted that a new “small schools’ strategy” is being developed and that it will be shared with the Committee when complete.
It was confirmed to the Committee that Warwickshire County Council does not loan money to schools in deficit; however cash advances are occasionally used.