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Schools to get budget cutbacks
8:00am Saturday 20th October 2012 in News
Up to a third of Wiltshire’s schools could see their budgets cut when new rules calculating funding are brought in next year.
Next week Wiltshire Council’s cabinet will vote on the proposals, although it has to approve the Government-backed plans.
Intended to simplify school budgets, the new one-size-fits-all approach to funding means no special local circumstances can now be taken into account.
For example schools with a large number of military families and associated turnover, such as those in Warminster, will no longer receive extra money to deal with this.
Also, all schools will now receive the same amount of cash per pupil. Until now in Wiltshire secondaries got more than primary schools.
Large scale changes to budgets will be avoided in the first two years of the new rules, with funding guaranteed not to drop by more than 1.5 per cent per pupil.
A report to the council’s cabinet predicts a ‘turbulent’ time ahead for schools, saying: “A significant number of schools within Wiltshire will find their budgets are reducing year-on-year and we will need to work with those schools to support them in addressing any financial deficit.” Large primary and small secondary schools are likely to come off worst.
Steve Clark, head at Melksham Oak School, said: “It will have a significant effect on schools in Wiltshire, however there will be some protection in the minimum funding guarantee.
“Historically Wiltshire has been very poorly funded. “If the move to the new funding formula allows the Government to redistribute funds more equitably it could be better.”