Budget deficits to be examined at Wolverhampton schools
Education chiefs are to take a tighter look at budget deficits within Wolverhampton schools – and also those they fear may be at future risk of financial complications – as part of a New Year Schools’ Forum review.
A projection of each school’s monetary position is reviewed by the Local Authority every month and a ‘watch-list’ is then produced showing any estimated deficits compared to previous periods.
Once identified, any risk associated to possible budget problems determines whether a school is rated red, amber or green (RAG) depending on how potentially serious the city’s education leaders predict it may be.
Wolverhampton Schools’ Forum chairman Barry Bond said: “These deficits – or potential deficits – are rated based on the level of the actual or predicted financial estimate.
“For example, we look at factors such as whether a school is in the process of converting to an academy or if it has a licensed deficit.
“Any schools that are converting and already have any financial implications will always attract the highest rating and level of intervention.
“At the moment there are 23 schools that are being monitored, four of which are red, 14 amber and five categorised as green risks.”
The monthly ‘control’ documents produced by the city council record the current financial situation of each school in the borough, all previous balances and any action that needs to be taken – which could range from a meeting with the headteacher to introducing more stringent monitoring measures.
Cases for each school are discussed individually by the Schools at Financial Risk Panel.
Wolverhampton Council’s Schools’ Forum will discuss the matter at a meeting on January 17.
By Joe Sweeney, Local Democracy Reporter