Agenda item

DSG outturn including school balances

David Baxter


Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) outturn including school balances


David Baxter presented a paper on the DSG outturn position for 2022/2023 as well as 

Excess and Deficit Balances review 2022/2023 which was circulated before the meeting.


David Baxter updated the meeting and summarised key areas of the report.

           Combined Balances at 31 March 2023 £11.5m.

           Excess Balances at 31 March 2023 £1.74m.

           Schools with deficit balances at 31 March 2023 £0.398m.

           Next Steps


Q. Are excess balances defined as reporting a balance of over 10% of the total budget for Primary and Special schools and over 8% of the total budget for Secondary Schools?

A. Yes.


Q. Have we double checked the information provided by schools on proposed expenditure.

A. Not double checked but we can request additional information.


Q. have we had claw backs of excess balances in the past?

A. Yes.


Q. have we received information on proposed expenditure from all schools?

A. No not from every school yet.


Q. We should consider that schools on PPP contracts do have difficulty spending money due to delays in quotes and getting work done. We should look at the context for all schools with excess balances in detail.

A. Noted. It is also the case that some schools need to ‘save up’ for significant projects and in this period will have an excess balance.


It was noted by Jo- Anne Sanders that deficit balances in schools are actually more of a concern than excess balances.


Q. Is the total for schools with deficit balances at 31 March 2023 £398k. How is this being funded?

A. Schools are all working on action plans to resolve deficit balances.


Q. What happens to the deficit balance?

A. Schools will have to put in place action plans to achieve a balanced budget. Deficit budgets are not acceptable.


Q. In the case of Paddock school, the deficit is a result of a significant number of International New Arrivals. Funding will be received based on the census data. On this basis there is no significant concern.

A. Noted.


It was noted that, technically, excess balances can be clawed back but this should not be progressed unless we know the detailed context for the excess balances for all schools.


It is important that Schools Forum discuss excess balances. This is one of our checks for school funding. In the past, there have been valid cases to claw back excess balances.


David Baxter noted that there are ongoing discussions with schools with deficit budgets about action plans and staffing structures. Schools are working very hard to reduce deficits. All Schools have been challenged very hard to set balanced budgets as DSG resources are very limited for the financial year 2023/24.


Jo-Anne Sanders noted that a collective approach in the LA to sufficiency is very important. As has been fed back earlier, the KELPB are looking at sufficiency.

The DfE will review at the overall excess balance position across the LA in the context of the deficit on the High Needs Block


Q. Can we ensure that we get more information from all schools with an excess balance to understand the context?

A. Yes.


Q. Have plans and forecasts been done to understand future year deficits?

A. All schools have to submit a 3-year plan to the LA. The October census data will be a key assumption.


ACTION: A sub committee group to be set up including Andrew Fell and Katie Pearson to do a detailed review of excess balances and make proposals back to Schools Forum.


Andrew Fell will co-ordinate the sub-committee



ACTION: Additional information to validate proposed expenditure to be requested from schools with excess balances.


School Finance Team

Supporting documents: