Today’s news review looks at academy expenditure.
BBC Online today, Wednesday 1 February, ran a story about academy expenditure claiming that government figures show from 2014 to 2015, 53 per cent of academies were recorded as having ‘spent more than their income per year’, up from 42 per cent in the previous year.
However, the story did not make clear that the figures reflect academy expenditure and income in year, rather than the final ‘end of year’ figures. In fact, at the end of the year, the vast majority of academy trusts have a revenue surplus – 96 per cent achieved this in 2014/15.
A Department for Education spokesperson said:
An academy trust is required by law to balance its budget from each academic financial year to the next. Where the board of an academy is proposing to set a deficit budget for the current financial year, it must notify the Education Funding Agency (EFA). Wherever appropriate, the EFA will provide support to academy trusts experiencing financial difficulty but where we find financial mismanagement or irregularities we will not hesitate to take swift action.
We have protected the core schools budget in real terms, so that as pupil numbers increase so will the amount of money in our schools. Our proposals we are currently consulting on will mean an end to the postcode lottery in school funding and will help to create a system that funds schools according to the needs of their pupils rather than where they happen to live.