TWO struggling Torfaen schools could be given more time to balance their books, with one school expecting debts of £671,000 within three years.

Finances at Ysgol Gyfun Gwynllyw and West Monmouth School were expected to improve as part of a licensed deficit arrangement with the local authority.

Under such arrangements, schools set out how they plan to tackle their budget shortfalls within an agreed timeframe.

But Ysgol Gyfun Gwynllw, which has been placed in special measures, is anticipating significant budget deficits until 2022.

Similar predictions have been made at West Monmouth School, where debts rose to £184,041 last year – higher than the £84,000 planned into the licensed deficit arrangement.


Torfaen council’s executive member for education, Councillor David Yeowell, is expected to extend the arrangement for a further three years on June 27.

Ysgol Gyfun Gwynllyw’s fell into the red for the first time in three years in 2017/18, with a £246,000 deficit predicted by the end of 2019/20.

A council report says “appropriate adjustments” within the numbers of cleaning, teaching and support staff cut this forecast deficit to £61,000.

But this debt is expected to grow to £491,000 and £671,000 in 2020/21 and 2021/22 respectively.

The report says: “Given the large projected deficit in future years the council and school are continuing to work on a financial recovery plan which will see the school return to a reasonable level of surplus in the short to medium term.”

Additional staffing needed to counter a “rapid” in pupil numbers, exceeding the council’s expectations, have caused problems at West Monmouth School.

When the arrangement was put in place it was anticipated that the school would grow from 710 pupils in September 2016 to 909 by September 2020.

Instead, the school reached 911 pupils by September 2018 and is expected to have 1,152 pupils by September 2021, where numbers are expected to stabilise.

The report says: “The year on year pupil growth at levels in excess of those predicted at the point the previous financial recovery plan was agreed, meant that the school needed to appoint additional staffing with costs exceeding funding levels in those years.”