Schools deficit shrinks by £6m

Birmingham schools’ deficit has broadly fallen from £14.7 million in 2017 to £8.8 million this year, figures show.

Birmingham City Council released the figures for schools in deficit in response to a Freedom of Information request.

Figures show 35 schools were in deficit in the year 2016/17, and while this number grew to 40 by the end of 2019/20, the total deficit itself shrank by £5.9m.

The total deficit in 2017/18 was £10.9m and the total the following year was £12.6m before reaching £8.8m this year.

Schools with the largest deficits in 2019/20 were Mayfield School, Lozells at £1.9m, Harper Bell Seventh-Day Adventist School, Camp Hill at £848,000, St Benedict’s Primary School, Small Heath at £752,000, Skilts School, Redditch at £571,000 and Hunters Hill College, Bromsgrove at £494,000.

A total of 13 schools with deficits changed to academy status since 2017, and £11.7m total deficit from these was passed to the local authority following conversion.

Academy schools are funded directly from Government, are run by an academy trust rather than maintained by the local authority and do not have to follow the national curriculum.

A Birmingham City Council spokesman said: “While there are fewer maintained schools now than there were in 2017, it is positive that the cumulative level of deficits in Birmingham maintained schools has fallen from £14.7m in 2017 to £8.8m in 2020.

“In recent years the council has worked hard with headteachers and governing bodies to support schools in deficit as well as those who may be approaching a deficit position.

“We ensure schools have robust plans in place to ensure they can get their budgets back into balance and closely monitor progress against these plans."

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