Education Minister confirms 2016-17 school budgets

Date published: 02 March 2016

All grant-aided schools have been informed of their budgets for the 2016-17 financial year. The amount of money directly delegated to schools is £1,167.5m.

Speaking as schools received their allocations, Education Minister John O’Dowd said:

“As we are all aware, the budget position for all departments remains very challenging. As a result of reductions imposed by the Westminster Government, the overall Executive Resource Budget for 2016-17 has been reduced in real terms. However, although the Budget 2016-17 Resource outcome for Education is challenging, the position is significantly better than previously anticipated.”

“My priority has been to ensure that there is minimum impact on the classroom and I have done everything possible to maximise the allocation to the Department in 2016-17 and protect the Aggregated Schools Budget as far as possible.”

However it has been impossible to fully protect the schools budget. As a result there will be 0.8% reduction in the next financial year.

Continuing the Minister said:

“In order to mitigate against reductions in school budgets, my Department has funded the 2015-16 Strategic Cost Reduction programme in schools. This will result in up to £12.5m of full year salary savings in 2016-17 for schools. I have also allocated three quarters of the additional £20m, announced by the Finance Minister on 10 February 2016 and which will be made available to my Department as part of the June 2016-17 Monitoring round, to the Aggregated Schools Budget which is being announced today.”

“The remaining £5m will be directed towards the Education Authority for Special Educational Needs services.

“As we all face continued financial pressures, I am grateful to my Executive colleagues for their continuing support for children and young people. As we move forward in the new mandate it will be important to continue working together to target resources at those most in need.”

The Minister confirmed that the 2016-17 Common Funding Scheme is on the same basis as 2015-16. There are no changes to the formula factors or methodologies used to distribute funding, though the outcomes at individual school level will reflect demographic changes both at individual school level and in aggregate. The £30m additional funding allocated in 2015-16 for additional Employers Pension costs has now been included within the 2016-17 Aggregated Schools Budget allocation.

The Minister has decided to move £7.1m of funding to the Nursery/Primary funding stream, in order to reflect 2016-17 demographic changes, whilst retaining the earmarked funds to support post-primary collaboration. The Minister also confirmed that Transition funding will be available in 2016-17, on the same basis as the previous two years.

Notes to editors: 

  1. Funding Authorities will now issue formal Budget notification letters to their respective schools to confirm details of their budget shares.
  2. Most schools receive the majority of their funding based on pupil numbers and core funding distributed under the Age Weighted Pupil Unit (AWPU) funding element.Demographic changes (both at individual school level, and relative to other schools), will impact on the overall funding a school receives, alongside other measures of need including levels of social deprivation and additional need pupils.
  3. The 0.8% reduction in the next financial year equates to £10m.
  4. Schools can see their total indicative budget shares for 2016-17 on the Department’s website.
  5. Schools will receive full details of their budgets in due course from their relevant Funding Authority. Any queries on individual schools budgets should, in the first instance, be directed to the relevant Funding Authority.
  6. Media enquiries to the Department of Education’s Communications Team on Tel: 028 9127 9207. Out of office hours contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 07699715440 and your call will be returned.

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