Schools will be forced to release reserves, minister Jim Knight vows

Schools will shortly be forced to release a large share of the £1.6 billion lying fallow in their bank accounts to be spent on education, the government pledged yesterday.

In a ministerial statement schools minister Jim Knight said that ministers would take “further action” to substantially reduce the amount schools held in balances, after clawing back funds from schools last year.

Under the plans, which will be consulted on in the autumn, councils will be required to redistribute 5% of all surplus balances to schools, and they and local schools forums will take the final decisions on how the money will be reinvested locally.

Education secretary Alan Johnson told last year’s National Children and Adult Services Conference he recognised that some schools had large balances and gaining access to them was an issue among social care professionals.

Meanwhile, government figures released today show 9,000 children were permanently excluded from schools in England in 2005-6 compared to 9,500 the year before.

However, temporary exclusions rose by 4% to 344,000, though nine out of ten suspensions were for one week or less.


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