Local Authorities Disagree With DfE Academy Figures

Local authorities are set to tell the Department for Education (DfE) that new funding plans will mean that academies will receive “unfeasibly high” budgets at the expense of council schools.

Last year proposals were challenged by twenty-nine councils, which resulted in the DfE giving £58 million back to authorities.

However, under the new plans, £1.2 billion is expected to be taken from business rates and used to fund ‘central services’, such as school improvement, asset management and regulatory duties.

Following the proposals, councils have voiced concerns that too much is being taken from them on the basis of “weak” evidence, having spent weeks working out what they might expect in budgetary terms from the new proposals.

There is also a concern that the DfE’s calculations, which suggest that each academy pupil should receive between £8 and £15, are also flawed.

The DfE’s consultation says that the £8 was based on figures from five out of the sixteen councils surveyed, who spent the least on central services. They said that the £15 figure was also based on this survey.

Several local authorities believe that these figures are far too low, as an average figure appears to be £20, whilst one head of education services said: “A large number of authorities are saying that, having worked hard to get the right answer for 2011-12 (after the judicial review) the department is taking it all away for 2013-14

However, the DfE declined to comment further on the matter.

As an accountant, Gill Freeman specialises within academy finances and charity tax.

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