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(UK) Royal Borough: SPED "overspend" could be $17M in 5 yrs

May 27, 2022, Royal Borough Observer: Windsor & Maidenhead could £13.7m [$17M] blackhole in schools budget

London ‘UNPOPULAR’ cuts to Royal Borough schools may need to be taken as its budget blackhole could reach £13.7m [$17M] in five years.

James Norris, head of finance at Achieving for Children, which delivers children’s services on behalf of the council, warned their current deficit of over £2m within the dedicated schools grant (DSG) could grow to £13.7m by 2027 if no action is taken.

The DSG is a ring-fenced grant from central government that must be used to support school budgets.

Royal Borough headmasters heard at a school forum that they should expect an overspend this year of £257,000 [$325K] which adds to the overall deficit of £2.048m. More than five years ago, the Royal Borough had a DSG deficit of £752,000 [$950K] where it has now grown into the millions. This is mainly due to increased spending on the high needs block, which funds and supports children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). It saw a £1.5m overspend but underspends in other areas managed to bring this down to £257,000.

A five-year deficit management plan has been drawn up and will be submitted to the Department for Education on how it will address its money issues and outline what savings it will make….

“But also, we need to make sure that we are maximising fully every opportunity because there isn’t room for slippage.

“If we slip or see costs increase, such as inflation or demand – basically if we see anything going the other way – it means in five years we won’t be meeting our requirement to have a balanced budget….


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