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School Finance

(17 Posts)
Marmight Fri 18-Oct-19 17:40:56

My daughter arrived to pick up the GSs just now wearing a spanking new hoody top with her school’s badges all over the front and its name emblazoned on the back. The school had a substantial allocation this year which must be spent solely on ‘sports equipment’ so to use up the allocation all staff members have been given a hoody. This is a small village school 2 classrooms in which are unfit for purpose and no hope in the near future of being replaced; they don’t have sufficient books, notebooks, paper or general equipment and often have to dip into a fund to feed children who arrive with no lunch/money. They have been known to make up a lunch from their own! They are not permitted by the Authority to divert excess allocated funds for another purpose. I hear this over and over again - organisations, clubs and schools who receive government grants, other grants or sponsorship which cannot be used for any other purpose. AIBU to think the world is going mad when, instead of feeding children who sadly come from unfortunate homes and have to be taught in class rooms unfit for purpose, the staff have to use up the money on totally unnecessary fripperies? Why not reduce the allocation and use it more economically .....or is that too simple!

Bathsheba Fri 18-Oct-19 17:48:53

Totally agree with everything you say Marmight.

Marydoll Fri 18-Oct-19 17:54:42

Marmight, that is shocking, such a waste of money!
In my school, I was on the finance committee, we had devolved management of finance from the Local Authority and were able to vire money from one area to an other, if necessary.

Eglantine21 Fri 18-Oct-19 18:25:19

Well I was so interested in this I looked it up!

Don’t blame the Authority. It’s a grant that comes direst from Government to encourage development of and participation in sports and other physical activity.

It can’t be used for anything else and is a minimum of £16,000 a year, plus £10 for every pupil after the 16 minimum. So not much more for a small village school.

I would have thought it would have been better spent on playground or PE/sports equipment.

Eglantine21 Fri 18-Oct-19 18:26:03

direct -though direst might have been equally appropriate...l

Jalyn Fri 18-Oct-19 18:49:04

If the money you refer to is the Sports Grant, then this is an annual grant from the DFE paid to each school. The amount received is based on the school's pupil numbers. The DFE is specific about how the grant may be used and is ring-fenced for those purposes. The following is an extract from the DFE website

'How to use the PE and sport premium
Schools must use the funding to make additional and sustainable improvements to the quality of physical education (PE), physical activity and sport you offer.
This means that you should use the premium to:
develop or add to the PE, physical activity and sport activities that your school already offers
build capacity and capability within the school to ensure that improvements made now will benefit pupils joining the school in future years'.

If I were a parent, governor or member of staff at the school I would be challenging the headteacher about using the grant to purchase items of clothing for staff.

Daisymae Fri 18-Oct-19 21:01:42

It's does seem mad when there are other obviously more pressing needs. But that's budgets for you. When I worked for a local authority it was use it for lose it at the end of every financial year. Not sure if that's still the cast though.

Jalyn Fri 18-Oct-19 22:38:49

It is possible to carry unspent grant forward, so no excuse for schools to fritter. Schools are required to publish details of the grant on their website, including how much they received, what it was spent on etc and could well be subject to scrutiny by ofsted.

jeanie99 Fri 18-Oct-19 23:35:33

Absolutely Mad

timetogo2016 Mon 28-Oct-19 16:33:55

Marmight is spot on.
My daughter goes to a special needs school and the same thing goes on their.
Does my damn head in.

Callistemon Mon 28-Oct-19 17:47:50

I do think that sports and music are two areas which could be in danger of being underfunded so the direct grant specifically for sport is good.
However, it does not excuse the fact that the infrastructure of the schools, the need for basic equipment is obviously not being adequately funded.

Spending the money on clothing seems rather a loose interpretation of rules for spending the sports grant, although, I suppose, some parents may not be able to afford to buy sportswear for the children.

I think some of the parents of pupils at the school could be rather annoyed at the thought of the money intended for sports equipment for the children being spent on expensive clothing for members of staff.

M0nica Mon 28-Oct-19 17:58:35

It has always been so. When my father was in the army, if the Quartermaster didn't spend his budget, it was cut the following year. This is why, one day in March 195? a squaddie arrived at the Army Quarter we lived in and gave my mother a box of 6 tooth mugs made of coarse glazd pottery about half an inch thick. We had only one bathroom in the quarter.

Septimia Mon 28-Oct-19 18:06:19

Since more of the control of the school budget went to headteachers rather than the local authority, there's been plenty of scope for poor financial skills to cause problems.

Albeit with good intentions, some heads spend money on less necessary things and when the heating or the fabric of the buildings need attention there's no money left.

Maggiemaybe Mon 18-Nov-19 12:53:23

Several funding pots are strictly ring-fenced and can’t be used for any purpose other than that stipulated. But using the sport premium for staff clothing is mismanagement and a waste of public money. Having worked in school finance, I know that this sort of thing happens far too often.

makemineajammiedodger Thu 21-Nov-19 09:34:42

If it’s a 2 class village school, the cost of hoodies for staff can’t have cost that much - how many staff do they have, after all? At the same time does seem a silly way to spend excess money - there must be something else they could have bought for the pupils’ use instead.

Maggiemaybe Thu 21-Nov-19 11:08:31

I thought the OP was saying that two classrooms in the school are unfit for purpose, not that there are just two classes? Though I may have misunderstood.

But even if the staff hoodies only cost £100, that’s £100 that hasn’t been spent for the benefit of the children in that school. The grant could have gone on equipment, playground marking, hiring facilities if needed, specialist PE coaching, travel to events involving other schools. Even sports clothing for the children.

Xander Tue 21-Jan-20 18:23:45

Same sort of thing in NHS. I remember thousands £s being spent on PLANTS to be placed around the hospital corridors as the money was ring fenced. At the same time nursing posts frozen to save money!!!!