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School Finance

Volume 518: debated on Monday 15 November 2010

It is for schools to plan their own budgets. The Department will ensure that a full range of tools and information is available to schools on its website.

Head teachers in my constituency have told me that the uncertainty they have in planning their budgets means that they have grave concerns about staff numbers and their ability to offer certain subjects to students. Will the Minister put those head teachers’ minds at rest by saying whether schools face a budget increase or a budget cut?

The overall settlement was clear: over the four years, there will be a real-terms increase in schools funding. How that is allocated will be announced later this year at a local authority level. Then it will be for local authorities to allocate that funding to schools in the new year.

The budget for the Grove school in Newark has been thrown into complete disarray by the fact that last week, owing to flooding, the collapse of boilers and external exams, key stage 3 teaching had to be suspended for 600 children on Thursday and Friday. What is the Minister’s vision for both the budget and the school itself?

It is tragic when schools are faced with the sort of problems my hon. Friend talks about. It is, of course, up to head teachers to decide whether to close a school in the face of such problems, and if the closure continues for a period, the school should provide work for those key stage 3 pupils to do at home, so that they do not fall behind in their work. However, I am happy to meet him to discuss measures to avoid such flooding problems in the future.