Leicester

Leicestershire County Council needs to save extra £16m

Leicestershire County Council claims it needs to make a further £16m in savings caused by the the government's backing for converting schools into academies.

The Conservative-run authority said that because academy schools get money directly from the government and not the local authority, the cash will have to be cut from the council's budget.

The county council said some of its services could be affected as a result.

Leicestershire has nine academy schools with 20 more under consideration.

'Financial motivator'

The council, which needs to save £79m in the next four years, said more schools in the county were opting out of local authority control.

In August, Manor High School in Oadby was one of the first schools in Leicestershire to switch to academy status.

The school's head teacher Sheila Major said the move was a "financial motivator" for them.

"It's over £300,000... and it does buy a lot of additional support," she said.

"It also enables us to continue with our current provision and maintain our current class sizes.

"The school is running as it was, no different to what it was before as far as the children are concerned, but behind the scenes, back office functions, there's been a number of changes," Ms Major added.

'Creaming off money'

Cathy Payne, a business manager at the academy school, said that as a "medium-sized business" it now had more paperwork to complete in the finance and human resources departments.

Leader of the county council David Parsons said: "I think what the government is doing is giving schools a dowry in effect and it's creaming off money from local education authorities.

"At the moment the implication for us, I am told, is likely to be about £16m.

"Money like the £300,000 [from Manor High School] doesn't come from nowhere and I think it'll come from local authorities, we'll simply have our budget cut."

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