Consequences of reduced budgets

Insight – Secondary School

What was the issue addressed?
Each year budgets have been significantly reduced – including 6th form funding. Lack of longer term budgets (3 years was promised several years ago but never delivered). Lack of consistency of funding across authorities – funding formula differs in the counties. The year on year reductions in funding has resulted in lack of resources; having to use outdated computing equipment; reduction in teaching, classroom support and admin staff.

Reduction in funding nationally resulted in the demise of a very useful and important source of information and advice (Governors Wales) – fortunately this service has been resurrected through funding provided by the schools out of their own budgets. Whist school funding has reduced, it appears that funding of regional consortia has increased.

What happened?
Communicated with the LA, other county Governing bodies, Welsh Government Minister for education. Responses were provided by the Ministry of Excuses!

What lessons were learnt?
Lessons learnt – no point in trying to swim against the tide!!

All local authorities have a School Forum which was introduced to develop dialogue between local authorities and their schools on “budgetary issues, including school funding levels for the coming year, pressures on future years’ budgets, changes to local funding formulae, as well as reviewing contracts/service level agreements for services to schools.” Here is the link to Welsh Government guidance on best practice for this Forum.

Headteachers, governors and non-school members will make up the membership of this forum. Do you know who the members are in your area?

Does your area have a Local Governor Association, where you can attend with governors to discuss local issues and share best practice? Further information can be found here

Many schools work in clusters to share ideas and work collaboratively on specific areas. Cluster schools may even share staff, for example, a Business Manager. Have you thought about anything like this? You might like to share some innovative ways of working that your schools have developed here with further case studies.

One of the main roles for the governing body is setting financial priorities for the school and monitoring expenditure against the school’s budget. Whilst funding is allocated on a year-by-year basis (depending on pupil numbers in the main), it is best practice for the governing body and staff at the school to plan the school improvement activities over a three-year period. This will need to be reviewed once the budget has been agreed in May each year. Chapter 8 of The School Governors Guide to the Law provides a useful overview of managing the school’s budget.

Governors Cymru Services also has a guide on school finance which may be helpful. It includes information about the role of the finance committee, linking the budget with the School Development Plan, as well as questions that governors could ask when discussing and evaluating the school’s finances, plus additional reference material.

Has your school suffered negative effects of reduced funding?
What has your school done to mitigate against the adverse effects of budget cuts?

Have your say…
Have you had experiences similar to these?
What do you think about the situation described?

Contact Us

01443 844532 / 029 2075 3685 [email protected]
Sam MacNamara – 07943 887275 / Jane Morris – 07957 969708