SEFTON SCHOOL DEBT: Hunreds of thousands of pounds worth of debt
Some of Sefton’s schools are in hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of debt, according to recent figures.
Financial benchmarking figures from the Department for Education suggest 12 of the borough’s 18 secondary schools are in the red, resulting in a deficit of almost £1.6m between them.
The worst arrears – of £250,634 – were incurred by Sacred Heart high school in Crosby, according to figures recorded at the end of the 2018/19 financial year.
Christ The King in Southport had a deficit of around £190,000, while six of the borough’s secondary schools were in a surplus.
The National Education Union (NEU) has described the 2010s as a “lost decade” for the education sector.
School spending fell by more than nine per cent per pupil.
Figures on the union’s website say 90 of Sefton’s 93 schools are still in “crisis”.
The NEU estimates this to have a real term effect of a £343 loss for every pupil in the borough.
The union’s website says: “We expect our schools to be properly funded so they can deliver the education our children deserve.
“But after nearly 10 years of underfunding, our schools are at crisis point.”
The Government has promised to give schools £1.9bn more next year, though NEU says this falls “well short” of money needed to fully reverse cuts they’ve experienced since 2015.
Schools have a statutory duty to deliver a balanced budget each year.
If a school is repeatedly unable to do so, it faces risk of closure, or merging with another school.
A spokesman for Sefton Council said: “Although we no longer have control over all secondary school budgets in the borough, Sefton Council continue to work with local schools to help them maintain a balanced budget.”
Sacred Heart High and Christ The King were both approached for comment.
Words: Kate Lally, Local Democracy Reporter
Watch the channel on TV