Devon schools will ‘lose thousands’ after controversial budget decision

Sidmouth College

Sidmouth College - Credit: Archant

Schools will lose thousands of pounds following a controversial budget decision, it is claimed.

‘Worst case’ figures show the effect of Devon County Council’s (DCC) cabinet decision to transfer £2.2million from mainstream education to support provision for children with special needs.

This works out at £33 per mainstream pupil and schools across the Herald’s patch are set to lose a combined £102,927, according to figures provided by the authority to Liberal Democrat leader Alan Connett.

He said he had been told that, for some schools, the cuts would be less as a ‘minimum funding guarantee’ would kick in.

But DCC said the figures were out of date and based on 2015 pupil numbers.

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It says every child in Devon is funded £290 less than the national average and recently education chief James McInnes wrote to the Prime Minister urging her to take action.

The council said reforms to the special needs system had seen it extended to the age of 25, but not enough money had been provided by the Government, with Devon’s ‘high needs’ segment set for a £4.7million overspend this year.

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Defending the local budget transfer, a DCC spokesman said: “The money is remaining within education and the majority of it will stay within mainstream schools where the most pupils with special needs are educated.

“But we have had to re-adjust the balance from one area of the schools’ budget to another to compensate for the higher spend on education for children with special needs.”

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