Schools saved too much for rainy day

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A THIRD of Calderdale schools have too much cash in the bank, according to Government guidelines.

And if they don’t spend most of that £6.7 million soon, they could lose a large part of it.

Primary schools are expected to have no more than about eight per cent of their annual income in reserves and secondary schools about five per cent.

That is to meet the cost of planned building work, ongoing staffing where school rolls are changing or other unforeseen events.

The Department for Education intends to become even more rigorous with academies, of which there are 13 in Calderdale.

Claw

At the end of 2011/12, it plans to “claw back” from them any revenue balances over two per cent and capital balances over 10 per cent.

All 40 schools whose savings exceeded the guidelines in March have provided evidence of “substantial commitments” for spending the money, Calderdale School Forum was told.

Although they had a total of £6.7 million in the bank, they planned to spend £6.9 million.

“In many cases, the level of balances exceeded the recommended thresholds by only one or two per cent,” said Calderdale Council’s principal education officer, Mark Woolley.

But six schools had set aside twice as much as they should.

“There needs to be a general reduction in overall school balances to more closely match the – recommended thresholds and to focus on a small number of schools - seven primaries and one secondary – with significant balances,” he said in a report to the forum.