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Sandwell schools could be millions in debt by 2022

By George Makin | Sandwell | Education | Published:

Sandwell’s schools could be over £18 million in the red by 2022 according to budgets drawn up by headteachers.

Uplands Manor Primary School in Smethwick

The massive deficit is predicted in a report which will be presented at the next meeting of the borough council’s schools forum.

It comes as education officers warn that overall balances for secondary and primaries have dropped by over £16.5 million in the last 12 months.

Education bosses say that only one school, Rounds Green Primary in Oldbury, is presently running a deficit but warn as many as another ten will have balances of just one per cent of their total budgets.

Only 24 predict they will be able to retain more than 10 per cent in this financial year.

Rosemarie Kerr, principal accountant for schools, in a report to councillors said: “There are three schools projecting a deficit balance at the end 2019-20; Rounds Green Primary, Stuart Bathurst High and Shenstone Special School.

“The authority will be working with these schools to agree a licensed deficit plan and it will put plans in place to regularly review the financial position of the schools going forward.”

But by 2021, 31 out of 73 primary schools have said they will be in the red and by 2022 only 11 say they will balance their budgets.

Of those, five say they will be over £500,000 in debt, with Uplands Manor predicting it could owe nearly £800,000.

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In secondary education, all of the borough’s 11-16 year-old maintained schools say they will be operating at a loss by 2021 with Holly Lodge High saying it will be £2.25 million in the red.

The startling forecast comes as teaching unions say education is facing a national crisis.

Last month the National Association of Head Teachers voted to take industrial action in an effort push the government into spending more on schools.

Twelve months ago, research by the union showed 86 per cent of school leaders had cut teaching assistants and more than a third (37 per cent) had cut teaching staff.

The report will be discussed at Sandwell Council’s schools forum on June 17.

George Makin

By George Makin
@GeorgePMakin

Local Democracy Reporter covering Sandwell and Dudley.

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