By Gavin Mackintosh-
Nick Gibbs, has confirmed that over 60 councils in the Uk have been given permission to top-slice money from school budgets to make up for cuts to a central government grant.
Nearly 40% of councils are being forced to divert money from frontline school budgets to compensate for the government fund, it has emerged.
Education Minister, Nick Gibbs, admitted that sixty-one councils are now top-slicing school budgets to compensate for the loss, school standards minister Nick Gibb has admitted. In response to a question put to Gibbs, he highlighted the dedicated Schools Grant, which he said included a Central School Services Block (CSSB), allocated to all local authorities.Mr Gibb’s confirmed that 61 local authorities are funding services through “maintained school budget shares” in 2018-19.
Divesting money from school budgets to pay for services is done with the approval of local area schools forums which make decisions on funding allocations in their authority areas. Education services grant (ESG) ceased last September, and the 2018-19 financial year will be the first without any transitional funding. Quite frankly, it is disappointing, considering the efforts and relative success the UK government has had on the education system in the past year. Academic standards have been raised across most primary and secondary schools, , with Sats, G.C.S.E’s and A level exams, all made much harder than in previous years.
The money town halls formerly received via the ESG to meet statutory obligations has now been displaced by a “central school services block” in the dedicated schools grant. This covers councils’ statutory duties for both maintained schools and academies. However, the general funding element of the ESG, which covered extra services specifically for maintained schools like legal costs and improvement services, is no longer paid, leaving schools to foot the bill.
Now the government has revealed that 61 councils have been given permission by their schools forums to top-slice money from maintained school budgets from this April, to cover those non-statutory duties previously paid-for by the ESG. A list of the councils operating under a top slice scheme were named this week by Gibbs, in response to a question from Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Layla Moran.
“The general funding rate of the ESG was only for the responsibilities that local authorities held for their maintained schools,” explained Gibb.
“Local authorities can fund services from the maintained school budget shares, with the agreement of the maintained school members of the schools forum, to meet these responsibilities.”