Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

NAO outlines academies funding shortfalls

  • Comment

The Department for Education has lost £350m to local authorities because of complications in its funding system for academy schools, according to the National Audit Office.

A report from the public spending watchdog said the DfE had overspent on its academies programme by £1bn between April 2010 and March 2012. Of this, it said, £350m “remained in the local authority system”.

It described the £350m as “money the department was not able to recover from local authorities to offset against academy funding, and which therefore remained in the local authority system”.

Part of this was the £58m that the department agreed to refund after some authorities launched a legal challenge over its funding transfers to academies.

A further £105m came from the DfE’s failure to recoup from local authorities all of the £253m it transferred to academies in 2011-12. Of this, the report said, the department recouped £148m, leaving a £105m shortfall.

It said another £107m was not recovered because there was no academy funding transfer in 2010-11. The remaining £80m came from other complications in the funding system, such as differences in pupil data, it said.

However, senior local government figures have been keen to stress that they believe the academies funding system has left councils out of pocket.

The report also accused the DfE of failing to anticipate the high number of schools that would become academies, leading to a £1bn overspend that had to be made up by cutting other services – including a £95m cut to school improvement.

The DfE said in a statement:  “We make no apology for the fact that more schools than even we imagined have opted to convert, and no apology for spending money on a programme that is proven to drive up standards and make long-term school improvements”.

  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions.

Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.