School leaders in Milton Keynes on tenterhooks over money for next year

Schools in Milton Keynes are still waiting for the t’s to be crossed and i’s dotted on how much they will have in their budgets next year despite a high-profile government announcement.

The Schools Forum, where education leaders convene to discuss budget issues with council experts, was told on Thursday (October 17) that the council is being “drip fed” news on the money available for the financial year from April.

School children taking a test

School children taking a test

“We haven’t got all the information yet but we have been drip fed a little bit more,” said Natasha Hutchin, Milton Keynes Council’s strategic finance business partner.

“It is likely to come together in the next few weeks,” she added.

On the face of it though it does look to be quite good news for the council and maintained schools.

Members of the forum, which met at the MK Professional Development Centre, in Galley Hill, were told that the total budget for schools will be nearly £195.8million, an increase of £22million on this year.

This is set to mean that primary schools will receive £4,144 per pupil, up £224, with secondary schools receiving £5,347 per pupil, up £311.

But the forum, which is made up of representatives from schools and academies in MK, was told that the actual amount of cash each school gets will depend on a multitude of factors, which aren’t yet known.

There is also a question mark over how much will be received to support MK as the city’s population grows. There are around 26,453 primary school pupils, and 15,509 secondary pupils in MK.

The forum also heard that schools have yet to be told about how teachers’ pay rises and pension payments will be funded.