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FOCUS: New figures shed light on underfunding of schools

FOCUS: New figures shed light on underfunding of schools

Monday 14 June 2021

FOCUS: New figures shed light on underfunding of schools


New figures have exposed the impact of Government-run schools being "consistently underfunded", with the education establishments collectively ending last year £3.5m in the red.

There has been a year-on-year increase in school deficits since 2018, with those in charge attributing it to “pressures… from variations in demographic demand and increasing standards.”

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Pictured: More than half of Jersey's schools came out with a spending deficit last year.

The figures were revealed in response to a written question from Deputy Mike Higgins. They showed that in 2016 and 2017, the total of all school budgets retained underspends of £126,077 (2016) and £228,944 (2017) respectively.

However, in 2018, this suddenly took a turn, with the year concluding with a deficit of £1.6m. Over the following two years, this deficit continued to grow, rising to £3.3m in 2019, and most recently £3,509,520 in 2020.

An independent review published last year recommended extra funding for education, as well as “immediate development of a radically simplified funding formula that will provide a flexible platform to support future education policy developments.”

In the Education Department's response to the question of why the deficits were occurring, it was acknowledged that the report “confirmed that schools had been consistently underfunded.”

“The biggest contributing factor to overspend is pressure to increase staff numbers in order to address pressures arising from variations in demographic demand and increasing standards,” the response read.

“An example of these combined pressures is the increase in the number of higher needs pupils requiring more specialised support. This results in increased support staffing ratios.”

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Pictured: The Ministerial response to questions on the reasons for the deficit stated that it was partly to do with the need for specialised support.

Furthermore, it stated that “cleaning contracts are significantly overspent in schools but also more widely. The move to a Living Wage is cited as a factor in increasing prices by suppliers.” 

Special Educational Needs (SEN) and mental health 

A response to a separate written question from Deputy Higgins shows the spend in the past year on SEN and mental health units across schools in 2020 was £10.2m, though it notes that actual costs could differ as they “could be coded to different business units.”

This was split between £5m in mainstream schools, £5.2m in special schools and alternative provision (Mont à l’Abbé, La Sente and La Passerelle).  

This spending has gone up by more than four times the spending figure of 2016, when it sat at £1.1m, rising with each year. 

In addition, the total cost of additional resource centres in 2020 across schools was £1.8m, and the CYPES Inclusion service £4.3m.

English as an additional language

In 2020, £207,788 was spent on the central ‘English as an additional language’ (EAL) team, supporting around 2,985 students (as figures as La Sente were below five students, the number was not disclosed).

However, despite there being around 527 fewer students in this category than in 2016 (again, excluding the fewer than five from La Sente, as well as fewer than five from Jersey College for Girls Prep), spending was higher at £249,003.

This spending increased even further in 2017 and 2018 - however, this was due to a pilot scheme which was then discontinued in 2019 - in that year, the figure fell back down to £190,209.

Inclusion

On overall funding, the Education Department's response to Deputy Higgins’ questions adds: “The Education Reform project is underway to… ensure schools are fairly funded.”

"Generally, across the whole sector an increase in numbers of children with Special Educational Needs and Mental Health needs has been a major factor in increased spend. An Inclusion Review is underway to ensure we understand this and how to address it."

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Pictured: The new figures came as a result of written questions from Deputy Mike Higgins.

The inclusion review is an independent review looking at needs and provisions for all children and young people - parents, carers, and children are currently being asked to answer surveys to have their say.

On the review, special needs group the Parent Carer Forum said they “would strongly encourage all our members and the impacted wider community, to ensure they have their say on how the current existing arrangements are working for them.”

Concerns about inclusion have been in the public eye recently - earlier this year, Express covered concerns about the facilities at the island’s school for children with social, emotional and behavioural needs, La Sente, and how they felt they needed to improve.

Last month, Assistant Education Minister Deputy Scott Wickenden visited both its KS2 and three buildings at D'Hautrée House, as well as its KS4 facility at Five Oaks, saying that “it's clear that there is a lot of work to do to provide a modern, healing environment for the school.”

“Offsetting” other schools

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CLICK TO ENGLARGE: The full chart of spending from 2016 - 2020.

Speaking about how overall deficits are handled, the Ministerial response stated: “If a Government-funded school overspends, the deficit must be covered by underspends elsewhere within the CYPES department.

“If any schools underspend this goes towards offsetting overspends in other schools. 

“Prior to 2018, schools deficits and overspends were carried forward but that rule changed so that the budget has to be managed within year within the department.  

For fee-paying schools their deficits / surpluses have been carried forward as it is deemed that they are able to use fee income to bring their spend back into balance, and that is more appropriate than using Tax payers money to cover any deficit." 

Breakdown of spending by school in 2020

Schools with a deficit between £400,000 - £700,000

  • Mont A l’Abbe had a deficit of £640,719 from a budget of £3,024,000.
  • Haute Vallée had a deficit of £601,318 from a budget of £4,841,000.
  • Le Rocquier had a deficit of £589,218 from a budget of £5,649,000. 

Schools with a deficit between £300,000 - £400,000

  • Jersey College for Girls had a deficit of £306,063 from a budget of £2,341,880.
  • Grainville had a deficit of £310,048 from a budget of £5,488,000.
  • Les Quennevais had a deficit of £300,150 from a budget of £5,840,000.

Schools with a deficit between £100,000 - £200,000 

  • Rouge Bouillon had a deficit of £115,589 from a budget of £2,566,000.
  • La Passerelle had a deficit of £117,157 from a budget of £5,000.
  • La Sente had a deficit of £132,355 from a budget of £1,275,000.
  • Victoria College had a deficit of £184,085 from a budget of £2,505,600.

Schools with a deficit between £50,000 - £100,000

  • Highlands College had a deficit of £77,858 from a budget of £10,195,000.
  • Bel Royal School had a deficit of £73,633 from a budget of £1,572,000.
  • Grouville School had a deficit of £67,600 from a budget of £1,987,000.
  • St Mary School had a deficit of £80,150 from a budget of £944,000. 

Schools with a deficit between £10,000 - £50,000

  • Jersey College for Girls Prep had a deficit of £36,575 from a budget of £391,992.
  • d’Auvergne School had a deficit of £36,712 from a budget of £2,438,000.
  • Janvrin School had a deficit of £32,840 from a budget of £2,031,000.
  • Mont Nicolle School had a deficit of £44,281 from a budget of £1,296,000.
  • St Clement School had a deficit of £37,768 from a budget of £1,294,000.
  • St Luke School had a deficit of £38,649 from a budget of £1,141,000.
  • St Peter School had a deficit of £16,568 from a budget of £1,156,000
  • St Saviour School had a deficit of £19,793 from a budget of £1,164,000.

Schools with a deficit between £1,000 - £10,000

  • Grands Vaux had a deficit of £9,681 from a budget of £1,221,000.
  • Les Landes School had a deficit of £2,921 from a budget of £998,000.
  • St John School had a deficit of £6,951 from a budget of £1,117,000.
  • St Martin School had a deficit of £1,326 from a budget of £1,138,000.

Primary Schools which underspent in 2020

  • Victoria College Prep underspent by £181,431 from a budget of £355,000. 
  • First Tower School underspent by £22,498 from a budget of £2,064,000.
  • La Moye School underspent by £3,415 from a budget of £1,916,000.
  • Plat Douet School underspent by £2,040 from a budget of £2,280,000.
  • Samares School underspent by £90,022 from a budget of £1,451,000.
  • Springfield School underspent by £7,577 from a budget of £1,327,000.
  • St Lawrence School underspent by £5,829 from a budget of £1,142,000.
  • Trinity School underspent by £26,021 from a budget of £1,164,000.

Secondary Schools which underspent in 2020

  • Hautlieu School underspent by £32,506 from a budget of £6,372,000.

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Comments

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Posted by Jon Jon on
Simply shows again to many people in this Island and many not speaking English as their first language.
Posted by Keith Marsh on
A spend of £ 85.5 million on Education, sounds a vast figure for a tiny island.
It would be interesting to see how these figures are arrived at, what is actually included in this amount ?
It seems as though the States need to go back to school and learn how to fund this most important function of Government.
Posted by Scott Mills on
try the hospital for funding. I totally understand Jon Jon comment, and with all respect....sometimes when asking even in a supermarket, unfortunately one staff I came across couldn't understand or speak any english whatsoever.
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