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School Budgets (Leicestershire)

Volume 407: debated on Wednesday 25 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills whether schools in Leicestershire that use money from building budgets to maintain teachers in post will be required to repay that money. [121012]

[holding answer 23 June 2003]: On 15 May, my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State, announced that in response to exceptional pressures this year on some school budgets he has decided to help schools manage their budgets by allowing them, in discussion with their local education authorities (LEAs), to use their devolved capital funding to support their day-to-day running costs. This is to be for this year only and must be a decision taken by the school with the agreement of the LEA.If schools decide that they wish to take advantage of this flexibility they will not be required to repay any of the funding. However, as the guidance issued by my Department to LEAs on 16 May to enable them immediately to discuss locally where this capital flexibility can be used makes clear, any school which seeks to use this flexibility would irrevocably forego their capital allocation. They would, therefore, lose the benefits over the longer term of the capital investment in their school buildings to pupil standards. This flexibility has an opportunity cost, and should only be used where failure to do so would lead to excessive instability within the school. We did not intend to increase the total funding available to any school.My Department is working with representatives of local government and schools to consider what changes to the schools funding system are needed from 2004–05 to ensure that every school receives a reasonable per pupil settlement next year.