But Lib Dems more than double the schools funding crisis for special needs children
Kingston schools have received a significant boost to their funding. Schools across the Borough will share a 7% increase in total funding, with the most vulnerable students with high needs securing an additional 11% increase in funding.
Cllr Maria Netley, Conservative Education Spokesperson said:
“This is great news for schools. Despite significant protection to educational funding during the years of austerity, it’s still the case that rising costs have put pressure on school budgets. The 7% increase in school funding is to be welcomed, especially during these very difficult times for public finances following the impact of Covid.”
Despite these significant increases, the Council-run Special Needs budget is significantly out of control and threatening to undermine the good work of the Borough’s schools.
Since 2018 Kingston’s Special Needs budget has ballooned to an overspend of £25m, despite the LibDems claiming they would tackle the issue and bring down the high costs the Council charges to the education budget.
Cllr Kevin Davis, Leader of the Conservative Opposition said:
“The LibDems inherited a much brighter position for Special Needs. The last Conservative-run council secured huge additional funding from Government so we could do the things necessary to tackle the problem – they have wasted that money by making the problem worse. Bizarrely, the LibDem MP claimed that the Conservative council was guilty of “incompetence” and yet three years later his own Council has more than doubled the problem.”
This is the part of the education budget that supports children with high educational needs. It is clear that were this problem to continue, LibDem-run Kingston Council may have to take the route of Croydon Council and declare themselves bankrupt and have the Government step in to secure Council services.
Cllr Maria Netley continued:
“The Government has done their bit by giving Kingston Covid bail-out funds and hugely increasing the schools budget. But now it’s for the LibDem Council to come up with a solution to the problem instead of just kicking the can down the road and waiting for the next Government bailout of their incompetence.”
Cllr Kevin Davis continued:
“This growing education disaster proves yet again that the trouble with a LibDem Council is they have power without responsibility and there is always someone else to blame.”
Notes to editors:
The Council dedicated schools grant increased by 7.3% and the block allocated directly to schools funding has increased by 7.2%
School increases in budgets have seen some schools do even better than this blanket increase with secondary schools generally seeing increases higher than 7%. Tiffin school will see the highest increase at 8.3% and other such as Richard Challoner (8%), Tolworth Girls (7.6%) and Kingston Academy (6%). Primary schools will see funding increases range from10% to 4.4%. [Increases are calculated on the basis of the funding allocated to each pupil on the roll at the school and the amount allocated to each school is based on consultation and decisions with the schools through the Schools Forum committee.]
At 31 March 2021, it is anticipated that the Council will have a cumulative overspend on special needs of £25m and is projected to grow to £35m if the Council takes no action or has to be bailed out again by the Government. This is an increase of 180% since the Lib Dems started running the Council in 2018 and has grown exponentially since the problem first arose in 2013 under the then Lib Dem administration.
The Lib Dems have failed to produce a plan that tackles or reduces the growing deficit since taking control in 2018.