Budget-setting with a narrow margin

School finances work on the financial year – April to March. We are allowed to carry forward a reasonable amount as long as we have an accepted plan for the surplus. Our school never keeps hold of more than 2% of our income - £40,000 out an income of £2,000,000.

School income is directly driven by pupil numbers. On census day we had five fewer pupils so our multiplier is lower by 1.05%. Fortunately, the amount we receive per pupil has been climbing for the last four years – AWPU has increased to over £4,040 per pupil – so one largely cancelled out the other for April 2022. We will see a drop of £5,900 in overall income as a result.

Expenditure is fairly fixed – we won’t reduce staffing just because there were five fewer pupils back on a particular day in October when the census was taken, for example. We will need to run the building, buy insurance and pay for professional services.

The outcome is often that we make change around the edges of our provision, as what surplus we have will not fund major investment or expansion of capacity.

I am pleased to say that we will be able to fund all that we have been providing and to continue to develop our skills and our pupils learning at the rate we have done for the last few years.

We do have a wish list, with some very expensive ‘blue sky thinking’ items. We won’t be implementing many of them immediately.

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