Newbury Community Forum

General Boards => Got something to say? => : Number 6 June 26, 2017, 11:18:44 AM

: School deficits
: Number 6 June 26, 2017, 11:18:44 AM
Seems running a deficit is rapidly becoming a national disease ? I believe I predicted this some months ago. What is clear is that there appears to be a tendency to obfuscate what is really the position regarding school finances and under the cloak of this smoke and mirrors there may well be some extremely bad news hiding. Time for those responsible at WBC to be sacked before the situation gets much worse.
: Re: School deficits
: Old Goat June 29, 2017, 09:22:47 AM
This is a classic 'no news' story.  Are headmasters qualified or even well versed in financial management?  Have they ever 'managed' in an organisation or a firm where to overspend has catastrophic consequences?  WBC is doing its usual, bring a speaking spreadsheet.  Again, not surprising, the size of the organisation means a competent book keeper must try to look,like an accountant.  Ooh the Head Teacher (and presumably the Governors) won't play our pretend budget game.  Wow, there's a surprise!  To paraphrase, 'the urge to manage is no measure of competence'.
: Re: School deficits
: Number 6 June 30, 2017, 05:02:00 PM
Running a budget used to be something that required some (but nor a lot) of training as long as basic book-keeping was up to scratch. Nowadays both processes can be mainly automated by computer programmes, readily available, that allow even a relative novice to perform like an advanced management accountant. Data entry still has to be timely and accurate but if they can't manage that then they should not be employed. I would hazard a guess that no proper software is employed - all forms of Govt. are useless at purchasing fit for purpose computer systems - and what they do use is subject to late and erroneous data entry. This leaves Head Teachers, Governors etc. all the rope they need to hang them selves by overspending without realising it. Pet projects are probably passed on the nod without a clue about financial consequences. It would be laughable if were not tax payers money.
: Re: School deficits
: Old Goat June 30, 2017, 06:57:59 PM
Therein lies the rub.  I suspect you may well have seen some of the Council's financial and management output.  I certainly have via a colleague who is a resigned governor. 

However, what manager in any other sector would just sit back and let it happen?  In any event, for the basics, you don't actually need software.

And we expect these silly s*** to turn out a highly educated and motivated future generation.  Some hope!
: Re: School deficits
: Number 6 July 03, 2017, 11:16:00 AM
I must have taken a short nap and in that time the National Government seems to have jumped on the bandwagon and promised taxpayers largesse for all, no matter what the cost. I suspect the whole country has become financially illiterate on the back of near zero interest rates that have disguised the risks of intemperate borrowing. For those of an age who know that all good things come to an end I suspect for many a nasty surprise is just around the corner. As always the over-borrowed will bleat that they need other peoples money to bail them out for their own stupidity (or is it just greed ?).
: Re: School deficits
: Number 6 July 18, 2017, 10:12:41 AM
Progress at last ?
: Re: School deficits
: Old Goat July 18, 2017, 07:28:07 PM
Err, probably not.

West Berks employs a 'Schools Finance Manager. Would it be churlish to suggest, that as schools don't employ accountants or even book keepers, the prime purpose of this role would be to ensure schools made already reasonable fist of managing their financial affairs.  Apparently, some schools haven't managed to do this and have started running a deficit. Hold on a minute, isn't this just what many local authorities (governed by much more senior people than mere teachers.

So then, to me, this is just a report saying that at long last the Schools Finance Officer had woken up and started to do the job.  To be perfectly frank, if I was say overall 'Head of Schools' I might be more than a tad upset; but no, this is the public sector, so it's ar5ses covered and blame apportioned.  As the saying goes, 'triples all round'.

Fake news hits NWN!
: Re: School deficits
: Number 6 July 21, 2017, 11:29:40 AM
Which begs the question how can you employ School Finance Managers without any financial qualifications or background ? Schools run significant budgets which should make a good understanding of finance and budget management essential not optional. If this is the case that they recruit unqualified finance managers then senior management should be held to account. Like turkeys however they will avoid Christmas at all cost.
: Re: School deficits
: Number 6 July 25, 2017, 01:12:00 PM
A bit of digging around by asking acquaintances with children still of school age suggests that their is still  a complete and utter mess as far is spending is concerned with what looks like a plan to spend vastly more on wages and benefits whilst reducing the spending on children's education itself. In particular as the council identified the costs of supporting those with special needs as a major issue there are reports that they are now reclassifying as many as possible as no longer in this category so as to save on support costs. With the bar set so high that all but the most disabled will qualify the rest will be left to struggle and fail. This is how low our council has sunk in it's attempts to sustain their unsustainable empires and benefits. Totally shameful.  (hint the money is primarily for children's education not your pay and pensions).
: Re: School deficits
: Old Goat August 02, 2017, 11:47:13 AM
I suspect under the present political regime this is an insoluble problem.  It's been made far, far worse because our schools have become an arm of Social Services.  The politicisation of teaching unions has significantly excaserbated the issue.  Examples?  Huge sums spent unnecessarily upgrading kitchens to provide free meals for primary school kids, most of which ends up in the bin.  Although the supporters of the scheme promised a dramatic and immediate improvement in standards; it's been all quiet on that front!  Then there is the 'pupil premium'; not many realise just what is being doshed out for this!  Two interesting examples of 'education' cash simply wasted.  Yet again, demonstrating that local government is quite defunct.
: Re: School deficits
: Number 6 August 02, 2017, 07:11:57 PM
Yes you are right. The current Conservative party is just a clone of New Labour and have totally failed to get to grips with almost every problem the country faces. Maybe, though it just reflects the opinions and attitudes of the country as a whole - in which case we are in serious trouble. Maybe a good time to start researching a bolt hole.