School bosses have welcomed a funding boost from Government to help ease financial pressures – but warned long-term changes are still needed.
Hartlepool Borough Council’s children’s services committee detailed the school funding for the ‘high needs block’ at its latest meeting.
At the end of last year the committee approved plans to apply to the Secretary of State to address a £1.030million gap in its ‘high needs block’ for 2019/20.
It involved transferring the money from its general ‘schools block’ funding allocated by the Government, which will mean funding for each school is reduced by 0.2%.
However the Education and Skills Funding Agency has since provided additional funding for Hartlepool, reducing the gap in funding to £621,000, which will still need to be approved by the Secretary of State.
The high needs block budget requirement for 2019/20 is £9.745million with the total funding now £9.124million after the extra December allocation.
Mark Tilling, headteacher at High Tunstall College Of Science, welcomed the funding boost but warned more needs to be done to address the issues long term.
He said: “As a schools representative we welcome the report, but I do think it is a stop gap.
“We will be sat back here next year unless funding changes radically, with a similar figure if not higher than what it was this year.
“We welcome the help on that pressure for schools but do still think we’ve got a big chunk to do.
“It’s not only the high needs block, it’s also the schools block.
“Although we welcome the funding and we thank the officers for their work there is caution to where we go long term.
“We need to work together for the young people in Hartlepool as best we can.”
Councillors on the committee also encouraged a focus on offering as many services as possible in Hartlepool to prevent young people needing to go out of the authority where possible and save money.
The council are hoping to receive a response from the Secretary of State on the funding transfer by early February.
Nic Marko , Local Democracy Reporting Service