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Department for Education defends 'essential' overspend

31 July 2013

As every school knows, unexpected spending on things like IT equipment and agency staff can easily create funding gaps. The Department for Education (DfE) is not immune from such difficulties, today defending their ‘approved’ budget increases to spend around £250,000 on outside agency staff and contractors, £100,000 on website advisors and £8.2m on computer procurement. Unsurprisingly, Labour has criticised the overspend, noting that this money should have been spent to address the shortage of school places for primary school pupils.

Perhaps the DfE should consider whether any lessons can be learnt from their own ‘Review of Efficiency in the Schools System’, which demonstrated that the best schools manage their budgets by ensuring the effective deployment of staff and having in place a strong governing body and leadership team that challenges the school’s spending. In any event, schools and academies can only hope that the DfE will be equally forgiving should they incur similar unavoidable overspends of their budgets.

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