Schools hoard cash as times get hard - others start to struggle

08 Jan 2010

More state schools in England are now in the red and showing deficit balances, according to the latest official statistics. At the same time, other schools are still hoarding their cash and, in total, are sitting on surpluses totalling £1.92 billion.

The financial figures for 2008-9, show that the number of schools with a deficit balance (i.e. spending more than their income) grew by 153 to a total of 1,848 in that year.

This represents just over 8% of schools. On average they are overspent by around £75,000 per school or a total of £139 million.

However, schools with a surplus are still far more numerous. And, while maintaining a surplus of between 5-8% of total income is recommended practice, many schools have much bigger surpluses. 

Almost 7,200 schools (or 1 school in 3) have what is defined as 'an excess surplus'.

 The government today published a league table showing which schools have the largest surpluses and the largest deficits.

The figures are at:

Local authorities already have the power to claw back excessive school surpluses but the government warned that, unless there was further reduction in the reserves held by schools, it would take action from 2010-2011.

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