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(UK) Leeds: Secondary schools face massive overspends in "high needs" special ed

Oct 5, 2021, Leeds Live: Massive budget blackhole facing Leeds high schools this year

Northern England Leeds secondary schools are facing a £5.5m [$7.5M] budget blackhole this year, the city council has revealed. The main account for local authority-run secondary schools in in the city has a financial deficit of more than £5m this year, according to documents published by Leeds City Council. The paper, set to go before the authority’s schools forum next week, adds that if no action is taken, the dedicated schools grant would overspend at a rate of between £6.8m and £8.1m [$9.3M and $11M] every year until 2027.

It added that most of the overspend came from the high needs block of school places, and that its funding deficit by the end of the 2021/22 municipal year is likely to be just under £5.5m. This includes an overspend of £1.839m [$2.5M] in the current year, as well as a deficit of more than £3m [$4M] brought forward from 2020/21. This will be offset slightly by use of cash reserves…. Another report, looking into the fund’s medium-term financial strategy, stated: “Over the five year period 2022/23 – 2026/27 the DSG is projected to overspend at a rate of between £6.8m and £8.1m [$9.3 and $11M] per year if no action is taken. “The majority of the overspend is on the high needs block and the council is currently reviewing the options available for managing this as required by the Department for Education.” Both reports will be discussed by Leeds City Council’s schools forum at a meeting on Thursday, October 7.


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