Outstanding Solihull school in £50,000 deficit

Burman Infant School in Shirley has applied for a licensed deficit

A Solihull school has predicted it could be in a deficit of more than £50,000 this year. Burman Infant School in Shirley ended 2021/22 with a deficit of £8,604 after it was faced with ‘extreme unprecedented costs’, with things set to get worse before they get better.

Rated ‘outstanding’ by Oftsed in 2009, the majority of the extreme costs in 2021/22 were put down to support staffing. Burman also missed out on over £20,000 in funding last year due to a reduction in pupil numbers.

The school on Velsheda Road is managed by Solihull Council and has around 180 pupils aged from 3-7 years old. The nursery, year one, and year two all have around 60 places each, split into two classes.

An original estimate from the school regarding finances this year put the expected deficit at £60,535 for 2022/23. This has since been reduced to £53,455 after Burman had worked with the council.

Burman has applied for a licensed deficit, meaning it can stay open and continue to receive support from the council while it works to reduce the deficit.

Council documents claim the school is expected to remain at full capacity and the standard of education and wellbeing will not suffer going forward.

A three-year budget has been drawn up that should see the school reach an overall surplus by 2025. Solihull council said it will be working very closely with the school, with regular meetings set up between officers and the headteacher.

Burman Infant School in Solihull

What has Solihull Council said about the deficit at Burman Infant School?

Council officer Jackie Brooke said: “During the last financial year, they were forecasting a surplus for the whole year. At the very end of the year, some additional costs came through that they hadn’t been forecasting which put them into a deficit position.

“The school has put a three-year plan in place. The deficit will continue this financial year which we are going to be monitoring very closely.

“So far, the risks are around energy and utility costs, as is with every school. Plus, the school didn’t achieve the savings on staffing that they thought they could, largely due to increased pay offers to teachers.”

Cabinet member for resources Cllr Bob Sleigh OBE said: “Let’s hope their position improves as we suspect it will. They are an excellent school, so this is just a respite for them to get back into good order.”

Burman Infant School has been contacted for a comment by the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS).

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