Two-thirds of North Yorkshire schools ‘in the red within three years’

More than two-thirds of North Yorkshire’s schools will be in deficit within three years, with the average secondary £648,000 in the red, according to a report to be put to councillors next week.

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A survey carried out by the county council found that 83 per cent of schools expected to have to reduce classroom support staff during the next 18 months.

Nearly three-quarters planned to cut “learning resources” and nearly two-thirds to reduce teaching staff. Some 86 per cent said class sizes would increase.

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Officials in the county, which has more small schools than any other in England, have blamed the Government’s national funding formula – which ranks it 129th out of 149 local authorities – for the shortfall.

Coun Patrick Mulligan, North Yorkshire’s executive member for schools, said the system had “effectively downgraded the financial support to rural secondary schools”.

He said: “We will continue to press the Government for fairer funding. It cannot be right that at secondary level, North Yorkshire is funded at £4,954 per pupil. In comparison, Hackney is funded at £7,873 per pupil. For an average 1,500 pupil secondary school, this is a difference of £4.4m.”

In January, analysis by The Yorkshire Post found that school deficits across the region had more than doubled in the past two years, with the latest totals exceeding £30m.

North Yorkshire County Council has suggested that schools will have to look elsewhere for funding, including applying for charitable grants. It said financial challenges would also impact on curriculum choices and investment in new school buildings.