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Schools: Finance

Volume 458: debated on Monday 19 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) how much deficit was accrued by each (1) primary and (1) secondary school in each local authority area in England in 2005-06; and if he will make a statement; (122413)

(2) which schools in London ran a deficit in each of the last four years; what estimate he has made of the number of London schools likely to have a deficit at the end of 2006-07; and if he will make a statement;

(3) what proportion of surplus balances at schools were uncommitted to any specific project in each year since 1997;

(4) how many schools held excessive balances in each year since 1997;

(5) what the level of surplus balances was at schools in each year since 1997.

In my written ministerial statement of 15 March I announced the publication by the Department of a summary of the data on school balances for the financial years for which information is available, 1999-2000 to 2005-06. Copies have been placed in the Library of the House. The information is also available on the Department’s website at:

www.dfes.gov.uk/localauthorities/section52/subPage.cfm?action=section52.default&ID=58

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills whether he expects the Consultation on School, Early Years and 14-16 Funding 2008-11 to affect (a) the date of implementation of the Code of Practice and (b) the funding arrangements to be agreed between the local education authorities and the maintained, private, voluntary and independent sectors. (127591)

The 2006 ‘Code of Practice on the provision of free nursery education places for three and four-year-olds’ came into force on 1 April 2006, replacing existing statutory guidance and reflecting the extension of the free entitlement from 33 to 38 weeks in private, voluntary and independent sector settings. The consultation on Schools, Early Years and 14-16 relates to funding arrangements for 2008-11.

The Government are committed to extending the early education entitlement to 15 hours free provision that can be taken more flexibly. This extension will be rolled-out nationally from 2007, starting in 20 pathfinder local authorities. To enable the funding system to support the extended entitlement, the Schools, Early Years and 14-16 consultation document sets out a range of potential changes that could be made to the early years funding system at local level. These options are designed to bring the funding systems for maintained and private, voluntary and independent provision into closer alignment, enabling local authorities to respond to parental demand for more flexible early years provision. The consultation also invites views on proposals to increase the role and effectiveness of the early years sector in local decision making on funding issues.

Decisions on the funding arrangements for 2008-11 will be taken in summer 2007 in the light of responses to the consultation and the outcome of the Comprehensive Spending Review 2007.