Cogan Primary school has cash amounting to £119,178 - sitting unused in its reserves

Cogan Primary School has cash amounting to £119,178 – sitting unused in its reserves

It’s emerged that some schools in Penarth are holding huge reserves of tax-payers’ cash in their reserves – rather than spending it on educating their pupils.

Welsh Government Education Secretary Kirsty Williams was "shocked"

Welsh Government Education Secretary Kirsty Williams was “shocked”

Last week the Welsh Labour Government’s Education Secretary Kirsty Williams said she was  “shocked” by how much money some schools in Wales  had squirrelled away for a “rainy day” – and told them “….it’s raining now”.

Altogether there are 17 primary and 3 secondary schools in the Vale of Glamorgan with cash surpluses which are in excess of the levels permitted by the regulations.

The worst offending school in Penarth is Cogan Primary (photo  above) which has salted away a small fortune amounting to £119,178 – which is more than 16% of the school’s annual budget.

 Victoria Primary School in Cornerswell Road

Victoria Primary School in Cornerswell Road

Meanwhile another Penarth primary school also keeping big bucks under the mattress is Victoria Primary which is holding reserves of £83,350 (5.5% of its budget)

Stanwell School, Penarth

Stanwell School, Penarth

The big Stanwell Secondary School has stashed away a total of  £188,043 (2.4% of its annual budget)

The new Ysgol-y-Deri is part of the £49,000,000 Penarth Learning Centre

The new Ysgol-y-Deri is part of the £49,000,000 Penarth Learning Centre

The Ysgol y Deri special school has a nest-egg  amounting to  £110,187 (1.8% of its budget)

St Cyres Secondary School in Penarth

The new St Cyres Secondary School in Penarth is deep in the red and is having to sign up to a 5 year recovery plan to get out of debt. Amongst its governors is the Deputy Leader of the Vale of Glamorgan Council Cllr Lis Burnett (Labour St Augustines)

The financial picture isn’t so rosy though in the brand new St Cyres Secondary School.  St Cyres is in the red with a “deficit balance” of £175,446 at the end of March this year. A formal letter has been issued to the school asking for an explanation for the deficit. Now a ” 5 year recovery plan” is to be implemented to get the school out of debt.

As far as the other schools which have under-spent their budgets are concerned, the Labour-run Vale of Glamorgan Council does have powers to claw back surplus cash  – but has yet to do so.

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  1. Ivor Bagman says:

    So what !
    Better than
    Profligate council !

  2. Chris Franks says:

    This does show how underfunded are some of the Vale’s secondary schools. We really should be investing more in schools such as St Cyres. It’s all very well have a great building but we need teachers and other staff to provide the education.

  3. Ann Other says:

    Is it not a good thing, as it would be in any organization, to make a financial surplus each year and therefore on an annual basis create a reserve? It would only be a weakness if the governing body had no written and detailed plan for the spending of the accumulated money, either on capital items or on other development projects … both of which, of course, benefit pupils and complement day to day spending. The governors will know whether the schools have a plan. As for the school piling up a deficit, surely it badly needs to change its ways?

  4. Johnabutt says:

    When public institutions run a red tab they should be held to account. BUT when they manage their budget’s well and make provision for future spend without recourse to the Local Authority, it is totally unfair to label the “Scrooge” or other such names. Instead they should be commended for doing well. None of the schools mentioned are doing badly either, even though they keep to their budget!

  5. Martin Coffee says:

    Damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

  6. Frank Evans says:

    Leaky roof fund or incase a teacher takes the education authority to court for having work more than 25 weeks a year.

  7. AK says:

    By far the largest percentage of the budget went on teaching salaries, and there is little if any to ‘squirrel away’.

    Perhaps they had a good year with little staff absences where expensive supply cover is required.
    Perhaps pupil numbers meant they could operate some of the year with fewer staff.
    Perhaps they are saving it towards some energy saving measures such as new lighting, double glazing, insulation to reduce those parts of the budget expenses.

    Believe me, if there was any sign of the Vale of Glamorgan Council sniffing around the surplus, the purchase orders would be in tomorrow to spend it !

  8. jm says:

    Has Kirsty Wiliams joined Welsh Labour, as your article implies?

    • newsnet says:

      Kirsty Williams has not, as far as we know, joined the Labour party. After the May Assembly Elections she was the sole surviving Liberal Democrat AM. She decided to support the Labour Party (which didn’t have a majority) and help it form what could technically be seen as being a Labour/LibDem coalition government. She was then appointed the Welsh Labour Government’s Education Secretary.

  9. Colin Davies says:

    Explains why St Cyres have recently appointed ex Vale MD and Head of Finance Sian Davies to their board of governors…

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