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The report provides an analysis of financial reserves held by schools as at 31 March 2020.

Main points (r)

The overall level of reserves held by schools in Wales was £32 million at 31 March 2020, the equivalent of £70 per pupil. The overall level of reserves decreased by 31.6% compared with the previous year. Reserves in primary schools accounted for £39 million.

The decrease in overall reserves is driven by primary schools where reserves decreased by £8.0 million or 17% in the latest year. Overall there was a decrease of £14.7 million in total reserves.

Ceredigion had the highest level of reserves per pupil at £285 while Denbighshire had the lowest with a deficit of £91 per pupil.

Since the economic downturn in 2008 and the introduction of austerity measures there has been an increasing number of schools with negative or lower level of reserves. 10% of schools have reserves over 10% of expenditure, half of the percentage a decade ago.

215 primary, 80 secondary, 8 special, 1 nursery and 14 middle schools in Wales had negative reserves totalling £38 million. The remaining 1,185 schools had positive reserves, 143 of which had reserves in excess of 10% of their total delegated expenditure.

(r) Revised on 23 July 2021.


Reserves held by schools, at 31 March 2020 (Revised) , file type: PDF, file size: 744 KB

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Anthony Newby

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