- By Heleema Al-Massi
UK government demands return of £384m in school funds
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The UK Treasury has taken back £384m originally promised for schools in England, at a time when head teachers are protesting about the already dire cash crisis.
The finances had been announced last year to fund a plan to require all schools to become academies.
The Department for Education has now revealed that when the compulsory academy plan was ditched, the Treasury took back this extra funding.
Head teachers have called the move disgusting and outrageous, when schools could already not “make ends meet”.
The Department for Education said the return of funds was appropriate if a project did not go ahead.
With warnings from head teachers that lack of funds could force a four-day week, there have been growing questions about the extra cash announced alongside plans to make all schools convert to academies.
Head teachers in West Sussex, who are campaigning against spending cuts, wrote last week to all their local MPs asking what had happened to the extra £500m for schools announced last year by the former Chancellor George Osborne.
A letter this week from Bristol head teachers to the education secretary, warning about “extreme” funding problems, also asked why the academy funding cash could not be used since the government had already factored the expense in to the national budget.
Education ministers had told MPs in April 2016 that there was “over £500m” for the government’s academy policy.
The Department for Education now says the extra funding earmarked for schools then disappeared back into the Treasury.
The department says that the remaining money, in excess of £100m, was spent on other education projects, thus not all of the initial funding was withdrawn from the Department for Education entirely.
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