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Crisis meeting for Norwich headteachers

PUBLISHED: 16:43 10 March 2010 | UPDATED: 08:44 02 July 2010

Thorpe St Andrew School head Ian Clayton.

Thorpe St Andrew School head Ian Clayton.

Steve Downes

All Norwich headteachers and governors are being urged to attend an "essential" summit meeting to help them cope with a looming cash crisis in schools.

All Norwich headteachers and governors are being urged to attend an “essential” summit meeting to help them cope with a looming cash crisis in schools.

The conference at Norwich City Football Club will give advice to school leaders on how to “navigate the choppy waters ahead”.

It comes as the financial pressure looks set to increase, with Norfolk County Council planning to reduce the amount of money high schools can salt away in their balances.

Tomorrow councillors will debate a proposal to reduce the limit on balances from 5pc to 3pc of high school budgets, in a bid to encourage them to “spend it on the children at school now”.

Heads are nervously awaiting news on their cash handouts for the next three years - amid fears of significant cuts as the government seeks to reduce its multi-billion- pound deficit and get the country on an even financial keel.

The conference on March 18, “future-proofing your finances - the challenges ahead”, has been organised by the county council.

The council is undesrstood to have moved the conference to Top of the Terrace at Carrow Road and made it free of charge to attract as many heads, governors' chairmen and school business managers as possible.

A flyer for the event on the Norfolk Governors' Network (NGN) website calls it “one of the most important keynote conferences of recent times”.

It adds: “Given the looming financial issues and falling rolls that face our schools, we urge all schools to send three or four people to this conference.”

Paul Fisher, assistant director of children's services at the council, will brief the delegates, who will then contribute ideas to help the council draw up its financial support strategy.

The proposals to reduce high school balances from 5pc to 3pc, while leaving primary balances at 5pc, were due to be debated today by the council's children's services overview and scrutiny panel.

Ian Clayton, head of Thorpe St Andrew School, said: “Philosophically, I don't have a problem. The money that we receive is for the students that are here, so schools shouldn't be building up large amounts of reserves.”

Do you have a story about a school? Contact education reporter Steve Downes on 01603 772495 or email steve.downes@archant.co.uk

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