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Budget in crisis at high school

PUBLISHED: 11:01 19 December 2008 | UPDATED: 22:04 05 July 2010

KIRKLEY High School has been forced to come up with a recovery plan after admitting they are facing a substantial budget deficit.

The shortfall was inherited by new headteacher Richard Pickard when he took over the role in the autumn term.

KIRKLEY High School has been forced to come up with a recovery plan after admitting they are facing a substantial budget deficit.

The shortfall was inherited by new headteacher Richard Pickard when he took over the role in the autumn term.

Although he has refused to confirm the exact amount owed, it is believed to be in the region of £500,000.

Suffolk County Council confirmed last night that the indicator of a potential deficit budget at the school in Kirkley Run, Lowestoft, became apparent at the close of the summer term.

Sally Simpkin, area director for children and young people's services at Suffolk County Council said: “The new headteacher, Richard Pickard, who took up post in September asked the local authority to look into the budget situation in the school. As a consequence we have been working closely with the school in order to assess the situation and to find a way to ensure the school can continue to move forward, while preparing a recovery plan.

“The local authority works closely with all schools that have a responsibility for managing their own budgets and financial matters. When deficits occur, we monitor and support in order to rectify the situation over a given period of time.

“The priority in these situations is to ensure that the school can continue to operate at the required level while focusing on its priorities - to meet the needs of all pupils and to aim to continue to raise standards in the pupils' learning and outcomes.”

Mr Pickard said a significant amount of income for the year is spent on teaching staff, but he was not prepared to employ less to save money.

“This is something I have inherited. I can't afford to worry about it. My job here is to support my students and that will remain my first priority, it's not going to be to make my budget balance.

“The education of my students and the welfare of my staff is most important. Money is money in the education sector and its all relative. I strongly expect this time next year it will continue to be the same, but I have to get on with my job.”

An Ofsted inspector is due to visit the school in February, but a spokesman for Suffolk County Council insisted it was nothing to do with the current situation.

“Suffolk is one of the authorities looking into a new style of inspection. The new style will mean headteachers get more involved. This was proposed some time ago and has nothing to do with the deficit,” he said.

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