Laura Sharman 05 December 2014

Councils ‘footing the bill’ for academies

Councils ‘footing the bill’ for academies image

Councils are diverting more than £22m of their budgets to help subsidise the cost of the academies programme, town hall chiefs are warning.

The Local Government Association (LGA) said councils are picking up the cost of converting a council-maintained school into an academy, including legal fees. Councils used at least £22.4m from their budgets between 2011/12 and 2013/14.

The LGA said the government should fully fund this programme, especially as academies attract more funding than council-owned schools following conversion.

Cllr David Simmonds, chairman of the LGA’s Children and Young People Board, said: ‘We are supportive of academies and free schools but it is simply not fair that some struggling schools are burdened with a deficit while others walk away to become academies and leave local taxpayers to foot the bill.

‘Nor is it right that consultants and lawyers are making good money handling these conversions when local taxpayers expect this money to go towards other local priorities, whether that is improving other schools or fixing potholes.’

The LGA warned that government programmes such as free school meals and the creation of new school places were already putting undue pressure on council budgets, which have been cut by 40%.

However, a spokesperson for the Department for Education (DfE) said councils were only required to pick up deficit costs for sponsored academies following 'sustained periods of underperformance'.

A DfE spokesperson said: 'The LGA is wrong. Local authorities are only required to cover a school’s deficit costs if it has become a sponsored academy after a prolonged period of underperformance. This underperformance has almost always taken place while the school was under the control of a council.'

The DfE added more than two-thirds of academies have converted by choice, meaning the council has no obligation to cover any deficit costs.

Overcoming the barriers to Commercial Card use image

Overcoming the barriers to Commercial Card use

Want to reap the benefits of Commercial Cards but coming up against some challenges? James Sykes, Head of Commercial Cards, Lloyds Bank and David Legg, Head of Corporate Card Products, Lloyds Bank, discuss how the payments industry is helping organisations unlock their true value.
SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Planning Policy Manager

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£61.470 - £64.704
Be part of Greenwich's vision to successfully accommodate a high level of sustainable growth, which... Greenwich, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Refuse Driver (Rolling Advert - applications checked weekly)

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£30.032 - £31.610
It is an exciting time in Street Services at the Royal Borough of Greenwich. Be part of a team who are... Greenwich, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Commercial Contracts and Procurement Solicitor

North Yorkshire County Council
£32,910 to £43,857
Due to positive growth we are looking for Solicitors to join our Commercial Contracts and Procurements team. Homeworking
Recuriter: North Yorkshire County Council

General Legal Counsel – Corporate and Commercial

North Yorkshire County Council
£39,880 to £43,857
Are you looking for a legal career which is rewarding and offers the perfect blend of public and private sector working? Northallerton, North Yorkshire
Recuriter: North Yorkshire County Council

Corporate Credit Control Officer

Camden London Borough Council
£34,033
The post holder will act as the expert point of contact on all issues to instigate and conduct cases of appointee ship. Camden, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Camden London Borough Council

Public Property

Latest issue - Public Property News

This issue of Public Property examines how how flexible workspaces can lead the way in regeneration for local authorities, Why local authority intervention is key to successful urban regeneration schemes and if the Government’s challenge of embracing beauty is an opportunity for communities.

The March issue also takes a closer look at Blackburn with Darwen Council's first digital health hub to help people gain control over health and care services.

Register for your free digital issue