Agenda item

Excess Balances

Verbal Update


Andrew Fell / Katie Pearson / Emma Brayford


Excess Balances


A discussion took place regarding excess balances. David Baxter updated on the current position across Kirklees.


It was confirmed that the Council has the power to claw back, there are specific rules on any surplus individual schools are allowed to retain.


Schools in general are in a very difficult financial position. Most schools have staffing costs of 70-80% of their overall spend, operational costs such as energy and services are also having sharp increases year on year.


To give a snapshot of the current landscape, of 110 Kirklees schools, 38 of those schools have staffing costs over 80% of their total spend and 7 of those that figure is over 85%.


22 Kirklees schools are currently in deficit and they are all Primary schools. Of those 22, 8 have relatively new Head teachers. 14 of these schools already have mixed age classes. Some are suffering from high staff absence. Many have had instability of Governors or have had an instability of Governance. Head teachers should feel they are able to ask for help and support especially in the area of targeting additional funding.


It was confirmed that strategies should be geared towards prevention and pre-empting where potential problems exist. It was suggested that KLP resources should be more focused towards help and support for struggling schools, for both schools and Governors. A suggestion was also made that alongside such a programme, funding could be channelled towards supporting where there are deficit budgets.

ACTION: Financial audits to be prioritised towards schools with relatively new Head teachers, also looking at the level of challenge posed by Governor Questions in their Governor meetings.

ACTION: Programme of long-term financial planning to be developed with training prioritised for new Headteachers and School Business Managers.


Q: Do deficit budgets have existing recovery plans in place?

A: When assessments are carried out financial performance is only one factor taken into account. They are dealt with on a case by case basis.


Q: In worst case scenarios schools face the possibility of restructures is this where the support should be targeted?

A: As you say - worst case scenario. If KLP are aware they can intervene and support. There are conflicting issues, on the one hand TU's could be involved and support staff at an earlier stage, but on the other hand the best staff who schools need to keep, might react to the instability by leaving for other posts.


Q: How did this situation first arise, surely there is not enough funding for deficits to be covered from others?

A: There is a strong argument that well managed schools should not have to give up their funds to prop up poorly led or managed schools.


Q: How would you reach any decisions on offering such financial support?

A: The first action would be to carry out a deep dive into the history and financial performance over a period of time. It would need more careful consideration. There would be no point just injecting more money after losses.


It was stated that unsustainable schools are a cost to the system and one the system cannot afford. A subgroup may need to carefully consider the right approach to take, as part of the planned work.

RESOLVED: That an increased focus needs to fall on supporting and challenging schools that are in deficit.

RESOLVED: That the LA will need to generate a deficit reduction plan for these schools.

RESOLVED: That information is shared as early as possible with all parties when a restructure is to be progressed, and that all parties then work together as one system to maximise positive impact.


Q: Of the 22 Primary schools, do some of them already have debt recovery plans? Also some may have an inevitability about them so how many are on the brink of unsustainability?

A: We presently have one school who have contacted the LA with concerns about their long-term future.