MORE than half of the secondary schools in Caerphilly county borough are failing to maintain their reserve funds, a report has said.

The county borough council’s education scrutiny committee will consider a report on schools’ balances.

It reveals that balances across the county borough have fallen since last year by more than £500,000, from £3.1 million to £2.5m.

Eighteen schools (21 per cent) reported a deficit in their reserves at the end of the last financial year, March 31 2019.

Six were secondary schools (out of 11), and the remaining 12 were primary schools were primary schools.

A school’s reserves are made up of unspent funds from previous years. When schools overspend, these reserves go down.

Of the six secondary schools reporting a deficit reserve position, two set a balanced budget in 2019/20, while four requested approval to set a deficit budget. All of the latter requests were supported.

Among primary schools, seven of the 12 reporting a deficit set a balanced budget for the year, while five have set deficits. Each of these schools have provided a plan demonstrating that they are working to an action plan to meet the necessary financial requirements.

Schools in Caerphilly are required to deliver a balanced budget by year three (the current financial year plus two).

The report says: “In November 2018 schools were advised that they would be supported to work towards delivering a “balanced” budget by year three but with a three per cent flexible margin based on each school’s individual level of formula funding.

“This means that the value of the three percent will vary from school to school.”

The report will be considered by the council’s education scrutiny committee tomorrow.